Wind Energy – Warning
On the day that armed forces of the Russian Federation began intense shelling of Ukrainian cities, Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, GE Renewable Energy, Nordex Group and ENERCON have warned the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen that Europe’s wind supply chain is in ‘poor health’.
The letter coincides with WindEurope’s annual statistics, which showed that only 11GW of wind farms were completed in European Union countries in 2021, and 17GW across the whole of Europe. WindEurope said that the EU needs to achieve 30GW of new wind installations per year to hit a target of 40% renewables in the electricity mix by 2030, but warned it is on track to achieve only 18GW a year between 2022 and 2026.
Europe is not building enough new wind energy to reach its energy and climate targets. According to the Statistics 2021, the EU built only 11 GW of new wind farms in 2021 and is set to build 18 GW a year over 2022-26. But the EU needs 30 GW a year of new wind to meet its 2030 renewables target. The slow expansion rate is impacting on Europe’s wind energy supply chain.
Europe as a whole installed 17.4 GW of new wind power in 2021, bringing its total installed capacity to 236 GW. The EU-27 installed 11 GW of new wind.
81% of the new wind capacity in Europe was onshore wind. The countries that built the most new wind last year were the UK, Sweden, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands in that order. Sweden built the most onshore wind; the UK built the most offshore wind.
The Annual Statistics also looks ahead to the period 2022-2026. It is expected that the EU to build on average 18 GW a year of new wind farms over the next five years. This is better than 2021 but still well below how much wind the EU should be building to meet its 40% renewable energy target for 2030.
To reach its 40% renewable energy target for 2030, the EU needs to build 30 GW of new wind a year. But it built only 11 GW last year and is set to build only 18 GW a year over the next five years. These low volumes undermine the Green Deal. And they’re hurting Europe’s wind energy supply chain.
Government ambition isn’t the problem, it’s permitting
Most EU countries have ambitious national targets for the expansion of wind energy. But permitting remains the main bottleneck. The rules and procedures are too complex, while permitting authorities are not always adequately staffed.
Therefore, Europe needs to act now to ensure its renewables ambitions can be delivered by European companies and European workers. The solutions are there: simplify permitting, boost innovation and ensure Governments recognise and reward the value the European industry brings to society, the environment and the energy transition.