Europe builds 14.7 GW of new wind farms in 2020, 19% less due to COVID

Permitting rules and procedures are too complex. Cefic Director General Marco Mensink noted that renewable electricity including wind power is a cornerstone in the decarbonization of the Chemical industry in Europe. Steel and chemicals are two energy-intensive sectors that both want more wind farms, to help electrify their processes or to power them with renewable hydrogen. Many decommissioned wind farms are being repowered but not enough of them. More encouragingly, Poland built a significant amount of new onshore wind and has committed now to a major build-out of offshore wind. The sheer volume needed by different industries, who all will increase electrification at the same time and increase demand requires targeted action,” he said, adding that specific focus on electrification in industry, sectoral roadmaps to inform and strengthen the Commission’s Industrial Ecosystems model, greater policy coherence across the board and adaptive state aid and competition law frameworks to enable the new models of cross-sector cooperation which Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called for are all needed. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Europe builds 14.7 GW of new wind farms in 2020, 19% less due to COVID

By New Europe Online/KG

epa07148412 A general view of a Gamesa wind turbine on hills near the village of Ardales in Andalusia, southern province of Spain, 21 October 2018. “Wind energy and steel already today form a critical ecosystem in Europe and will so even more on Europe’s way to carbon neutrality and circularity. Otherwise the Green Deal is at risk,” he added. “Permitting rules and procedures are too complex, and government at all levels are not employing enough people to process permit applications. “Wind is now 16% of Europe’s electricity,” WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said. But this is well below the pace needed to deliver the Green Deal and climate neutrality. The EU27 accounted for 10.3 GW of the new capacity. According to the statistics, 80% of the new capacity was onshore wind. Governments have to address this. Permitting has been the main problem, but the number of new wind farm permits actually increased last year. There are not enough people working in the permitting authorities to process permit applications. The Netherlands built the most (2 GW, mostly offshore) followed by Germany, Norway, Spain and France. It was 27% in Germany and the UK, 22% in Spain – and 48% in Denmark. According to WindEurope, the main problem is permitting. EPA-EFE/MAURITZ ANTIN

Wind is growing too slow for EU economy to go climate-neutral

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Europe built 14.7 GW of new wind farms in 2020, which was 19% less than what was expected before COVID, statistics on wind energy in Europe in 2020 published by WindEurope on February 25 showed. Obstacles to repowering resulted in Austria ending 2020 with less wind capacity than it had at the start of the year. Dickson said it’s not just the wind industry that’s worried. Many of its wind auctions were undersubscribed. Meanwhile the number of older wind turbines reaching the end of their operational life is increasing. Our industry is eager to deliver not only 100% recyclable, perfectly circular steel to its clients, including the wind industry, but also steel that is CO2 neutral,” Eggert said, adding, “For this, we need wind energy to help providing the 400 TWh of electricity that our industry requires by 2050, an amount comparable to the electricity consumption of France”. Their competitiveness depends on adequate amounts of affordable wind energy. So are Europe’s core manufacturing industries that are looking to wind energy to support their decarbonisation goals, he said. “But Europe is not building enough new wind farms to deliver the EU’s climate and energy goals. EUROFER Director General Axel Eggert said the EU needs to speed up significantly the installation of wind capacity that provides affordable electricity for Europe’s green transition. The result is it’s taking too long to get permits for new projects, permit decisions are being challenged in courts and developers are deterred from pursuing new projects because of the risks and costs involved,” WindEurope said, calling on governments to take urgent action to address this. WindEurope’s new figures clearly reveal a problem in the future supply as simply not enough capacity is added. In the next five years 38 GW of wind farms will reach 20 years of operation and require a decision on their future: repowering, life-time extension or full decommissioning. EPA-EFE/MAURITZ ANTIN

A Gamesa wind turbine on hills near the village of Ardales in Andalusia, southern province of Spain.   The EU27 are set to build only 15 GW/a new wind over 2021-25, whereas they need to build 17 GW/a over 2021-30 to deliver the existing 2030 EU renewables target and 27 GW/a to deliver the higher target that’s now coming with the 55% climate target. Looking ahead, WindEurope said it expects Europe to build 105 GW new wind farms over the next 5 years, over 70% of which will be onshore. The main problem is permitting. France saw further steady expansion of onshore wind and will start installing its first commercial offshore wind farms in the coming years. Wind was 16% of all the electricity consumed in Europe in 2020. This suggests a recovery is ahead, but Germany remains far off from what it needs to install to meet its renewables targets. “We simply need it, we need it at a competitive price and we need more, both for direct electrification and to fulfill our central role in the hydrogen economy. Germany which has long been the engine of the wind energy in Europe only installed 1.65 GW of wind farms last year, its lowest in a decade, WindEurope said. In 2020 Europe decommissioned 388 MW of wind energy.