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Europe Due to Install 87 GW of Wind Capacity by 2022

Wind energy in Europe is "on track for solid growth" over the next five years, with capacity to grow at an average 17.4 gigawatts (GW) a year up to 2022, according to WindEurope's Wind Energy Outlook in Europe report released on Wednesday.

"With 87 GW of wind power due to be installed in the next five years, Europe could reach 258 GW of installed capacity by 2022," the report said, adding most of the new installations would be onshore wind: 70.4 GW compared to 16.5 GW of new offshore wind.

According to the report, larger turbines will drive this growth, with 4 MW+ and 8 MW+ turbines now becoming the new norm in onshore and offshore wind, respectively.

Germany is projected to remain the country with the most wind energy (73 GW in 2022), followed by Spain (30 GW) and the U.K. (26 GW). However, Germany's share of the new installations is estimated to fall from 40 percent on average in the last five years to 24 percent. "Spain and Sweden will see strong growth with record years in 2019. So should the Benelux, Norway, Turkey and France, albeit after the short-term dip in the last of these," the report noted.

With more than 80 GW of net wind power additions projected up to 2022, Europe will account for 25 percent of net global wind installations, behind Asia’s 47 percent share, it added. According to WindEurope, alongside the new capacity additions, the next five years will see the first serious decommissioning of Europe’s first generation wind farms.

"By 2022, 22 GW of installed capacity will be more than 20 years old. Some of these old turbines will be replaced on the same site by more powerful ones. But as things stand between 4.3 and 6.4 GW of existing wind farms would be fully decommissioned in the next five years," it said.

-'Clouds on the horizon'

According to WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson, policy uncertainty and lack of ambition in many countries mean "clouds on the horizon", despite the projected growth over the next five years.

"But this growth comes mostly from yesterday's decisions. The outlook for new investment decisions over the next five years is less clear," Dickson said, adding most governments had not clarified their plans for new wind farms up to 2030.

According to Dickson, this is partly because it is getting harder to secure permits for new wind farms, and partly due to some specific problems in different countries that need sorting out.

"Germany messed up its first onshore wind auctions last year so will be building much less wind in the next year or two, leading to job losses. And France has a short-term problem around who can award permits, so there’ll be a dip in growth there too," he said.

The National Energy and Climate Plans for 2030 will also be crucial, according to WindEurope head as they will define the volumes of new renewables countries want and how and when they propose to auction the new capacity. "The NCAPs also require governments to articulate their plans for existing renewables that come to the end of their life between now and 2030. This is getting urgent," he said.

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