Europe added 4.5 GW of wind energy capacity in the first half of 2018, according to figures released by WindEurope. The figure is down on the same period last year (6.1 GW) though is in line with expectations. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Distributed Generation: Minigrid Microgrid Zero Emission 2018-2038.
There was 3.3 GW of onshore wind, driven by Germany (1.6 GW), France (605 MW) and Denmark (202 MW).
The 1.1 GW of offshore wind was mainly in the UK (911 MW), Belgium (175 MW) and Denmark (28 MW). Germany is set to install new offshore wind in the second half of the year.
For the whole of 2018, WindEurope expects to see 3.3 GW new offshore wind and 10.2 GW of onshore wind. This will mean 13.5 GW of new wind capacity in total for the year.
WindEurope Chief Policy Officer Pierre Tardieu said: "We are on track for a solid year in new wind farm installations but the growth is driven by just a handful of markets. The figures also mask some worrying trends. France has installed a lot of new onshore wind this year but they haven't issued a single new permit for onshore wind permit in the last eight months because of an administrative issue - which has also resulted in their latest auction being under-subscribed. So there'll be a drop-off in their new build now, creating uncertainty in the supply chain."
"In Germany it's good that projects now need a permit to bid into onshore auctions, but that rule now needs to be made permanent. Also, there's no clarity yet on when the 4 GW new onshore wind promised in the coalition agreement for 2019-20 is going to be auctioned. And the new Government is slow in confirming the auction volumes beyond that. Like all Member States they now need to give five years' visibility on future auction timetable and volumes - under the terms of the new Renewables Directive."
"This visibility is key to the supply chain and to keep wind energy jobs and growth in Europe. Investments in manufacturing, skills and R&D only happen when governments give long-term visibility to the supply chain. This clarity helps them to make new investment decisions and bring down costs. Addressing these issues will be key to enable Europe to meet its target of 32% renewable energy by 2030 cost effectively."
"And in offshore wind, Europe is too dependent on the UK, which is striding ahead in current installations and in committing to future volumes. By contrast, the rate of new installations has slowed down in Germany. Other countries also need to beef up and speed up their plans on offshore wind."
IDTechEx comment:Conventional wind energy is running out of puff. Still a huge industry, it has had its frenzy of installations but has nothing in the laboratory to match the plummeting solar prices because all that steel and concrete becomes out of proportion above about 300 meters whereas single crystal silicon will approach the material cost of today's polycrystalline silicon solar thanks to massive scaleup of its production by two Chinese companies. scSi needs far less space and infrastructure cost and can go in new places. Yes, the Aerial Wind Energy coming to market also goes in new places and it also uses far less material and space - it can even be mobile and invisible in daytime and provide more continuous power at those greater altitudes but it will have modest market impact for ten years as explained in the IDTechEx AWE report. It scales down quite well and solar scales down very well as the trend to off grid kicks in. Sadly conventional wind turbines scale down very badly: they can be half as efficient and unreliable compared to alternatives. See the IDTechEx report on all this. GE, Siemens and Vestas need to diversify to AWE, wave and open sea tidal power and very high efficiency new solar without silicon. This new energy harvesting is not massively intermittent either and primarily it opens up new markets rather than further damages wind turbine sales. The IDTechEx reports explain.
Source and top image: WindEurope