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EU: Record of wind farms in 2023, but the potential is much greater

15 January 2024

The member countries of the European Union built new wind farms with a record capacity of 17GW in 2023, more than in any year so far, but even so they are only half of what is needed to reach their objective in the field of renewable energy, shows the data published by WindEurope, Reuters reports.

The community block built and connected to the grid in 2023 onshore wind farms with a capacity of 14 Gigawatts and 3 Gigawatts of offshore wind capacity, increasing by 7% compared to 2022, WindEurope claims. However, according to Brussels’ own estimates, new wind farms with a capacity of at least 37 Gigawatts should be built every year for the EU to reach its renewable energy target set for 2030, according to Agerpres.

Europe’s wind energy sector has been facing difficulties in recent years due to factors such as exploding inflation, increased competition and bottlenecks in obtaining the necessary permits for projects.

“Things were very bad on the permit side. Now they’ve started to improve significantly,” said WindEurope director Giles Dickson, citing new EU rules designed to reduce waiting times for permits that have helped boost the number of permits issued last year.

“This gives us reasons for optimism that the improvements we started to see last year will continue, that we can expect an increase in the volumes of new wind installations that will be built,” added Giles Dickson.

Wind installations were responsible for 19% of all electricity produced in the EU last year, helping the bloc to have 44% of its total electricity production from renewable sources, according to an analysis by the Fraunhofer Institute.

Also, in October, the European Commission launched a package of measures aimed at boosting the wind energy sector, which includes more financial support for suppliers in the wind energy industry, through the European Investment Bank, but also changes regarding tenders for renewable energies that could favor local producers.

While solar power has exploded as consumers have turned to solar panels to counter rising electricity bills, Europe’s wind power industry has been largely left behind. Turbine manufacturers have lost money, and some park developers have canceled or delayed some projects due to rising costs.

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