New research by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) estimates that 8,600MW of new wind energy capacity will be installed in the European Union (EU) in 2009, a growth of one per cent compared to 2008.
This would take the EU’s cumulative installed capacity to 73,535MW, up from 2008’s cumulative capacity of 64,935MW.
The forecast is encouraging in a year where the financial crisis has affected most industries and where electricity demand is declining in tune with overall economic activity.
‘The research shows that the underlying demand for wind energy technology is currently strong enough to make up for project delays caused by many banks’ continued reluctance to provide project finance. Although the outlook for 2009 is encouraging, the real test of the wind energy sector’s ability to withstand the financial crisis will be 2010,’ said Christian Kjaer, EWEA chief executive.
The fact that wind turbine manufacturers had healthy order books prior to the financial crisis reduces the impact of the crisis on the European market for wind turbines. The EWEA expects the financial crisis to have a deeper impact in 2010, unless measures are taken rapidly to increase liquidity in the financial market.
Inside the EU, there looks to be a difference between the more established markets in the old EU-15 Member States and the emerging markets of the EU-12. The EU-15 are expected to install a similar number of MW in 2009 to the amount they added in 2008. The EU-12, however, are set to install 150MW more than they installed in 2008, an increase of approximately 35 per cent.