UK, France lead EU wind installations in 2019


The UK has led offshore wind installations during the first half of 2019, adding over 931MW in new generation capacity. According to figures released by industry association WindEurope – whilst France has installed the most new onshore wind capacity, with over 523MW installed over the period.

Wind energy installations in Europe are up year-on-year overall, with 4.5GW of combined capacity installed so far this year. However, onshore installations were down due to some “serious issues” in Germany.

Europe installed 2.9GW of onshore wind in the first half of the year, a decrease from 3.3GW installed in the same period last year.

The decrease is due to Germany recording its worst first half of the year since 2000. The industry expects installations to pick up in the second half of the year, but Germany grid connected volumes for 2019 as a whole will be lower than historical levels.

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Onshore wind installations are typically stronger in the 2nd half of the year. This tendency is particularly pronounced in Nordic countries where installation activity is strongest in Summer months. Turbine orders and market activity suggest significant volumes of wind connected to the grid in Sweden and Norway in the second semester. Large volumes are also expected in Spain on the back of the 4.1GW auctioned in 2017 and 2018.

1.9GW of new offshore wind was installed in the first half of the year, up from the 1.1GW added in the same period in 2018. The UK (931MW), Denmark (374MW), Belgium (370MW) and Germany (252MW) accounted for these installations. This includes Hornsea 1 in the UK which, when completed, will be the world’s largest wind farm with 1.2GW.

In the first half of 2019 Europe invested €8.8 billion in the construction of future wind farms, €6.4 billion in onshore wind and €2.4 billion in offshore wind. These investments will result in 5.9GW being installed and grid connected over the next two to three years. France and the Netherlands led the investments.

WindEurope Chief Policy Officer Pierre Tardieu said: “It was a good start to the year for offshore wind growth. But onshore wind installations were poor these past 6 months. Germany had the lowest first half of the year for new onshore wind installations since 2000. Permitting challenges remain the key bottleneck: 11GW of onshore wind are stuck in the permitting process in Germany. And the transition to auctions, where so-called ‘community projects’ were allowed to bid in auctions without a permit back in 2017, has been messy. Many of these projects still need to be built.

“With France, which had a good first 6 months, Spain, Norway and Sweden will now have to help pick up the slack in the second half of the year.“