The Strategist

Investment in Europe's wind power hit record high

07/27/2016 - 14:11

According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), sea wind power has attracted a record € 14 billion of investment for the first six months of current year, which is more than for all 2015. The largest share of attracted investments - € 10.4 billion - accounted for the UK, which is the world's largest market for renewable energy technologies.

Kim Hansen
Kim Hansen
EWEA European Wind Energy Association (WindEurope) released its semi-annual report, according to which offshore wind energy in Europe broke the record for attracting investment during the first six months of 2016. Volume of the investment numbered € 14 billion in the first half of the year. This is more than in all of 2015, when the industry has received € 13.3 billion. As a side note, global investment in renewable energy in the first half of the year fell by 23% compared to last year.

According to the report, UK raised the largest sum - € 10.4 billion. Next are Germany (€ 2.5 billion), Denmark (€ 999 million), Finland (€ 121 million). The money will help to develop a total of 3.7 GW of additional capacity. Currently, there are 82 wind farms operating in 11 European countries, which produce a total of 11,538 MW.

Meanwhile, EWEA reports that in the first half of the year number of new wind turbines, connected to the grid the total, fell by 78% compared to the same period last year. The current level is the lowest since 2011.

This year, new installations appeared only in Germany and the Netherlands. Generally, the offshore wind market is expecting a lull in the second half of the year. Experts say that in the period from this month to June 2017, the industry will attract € 5,2 billion, which will provide additional production of 1.4 GWh of electricity. According to EWEA’s forecasts, number of new wind power plants will start to grow again by the end of the decade. The association’s CEO Giles Dixon, comments: "a record amount of investment clearly shows commitment to offshore wind. We expect that number of new plants will increase significantly in 2017, but there are a lot of problems. Not the least of them is the uncertainty about future outturn and state regulation in many key markets after 2020. We have much to do before we can say that work in the maritime wind energy is over."

Meanwhile, low electricity prices and high costs of wind power production in the Netherlands are making wind power unprofitable.
Urban Energy association, which brings together companies related to sustainable energy, is extremely concerned about the situation.

Chairman of the Urban Energy Teun Bokhoven said that the Netherlands is already seriously lagging behind in achieving objectives for renewable energy sources (RES), established at the European level. The difficult situation with wind power makes the lag even more prominent.
According to the country’s commitments, the Netherlands in 2020 should receive 14% of electricity from alternative sources. Currently, this figure is 6-8%.

However, the current electricity prices lead to the fact that cost of wind power does not compensate cost of technical maintenance of the turbines. This is especially true for old wind turbines; more efficient models are often unprofitable, too. If this situation continues, many plants can be simply dismantled.
Teun Bokhoven believes that the government should reconsider its attitude to subsidies for wind power, and to increase the volume of allocated funds.