EU 2030 wind target within reach thanks to investment, improved permitting, industry body says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 27, 2024 | 5:11 PM

By Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union’s wind power target for 2030 is within reach due to a rebound in investment and improved permitting procedures, an industry association report showed on Tuesday.

In an outlook on the sector to 2030, WindEurope forecast that the EU will install an average of 29 gigawatts (GW) in wind capacity each year, increasing installed capacity to 393 GW. To meet the EU’s climate targets, 33 GW a year needs to be installed.

Two thirds of the installations will be onshore but offshore installations are expected to pick up rapidly towards the end of the decade.

Last year, the EU installed a record 16.2 GW of wind energy capacity, 79% of which was onshore.

Permitting procedures for new projects is improving due to new EU rules aimed at streamlining and speeding up the process.

Germany and Spain permitted 70% more onshore wind last year than in 2022, while France, Greece, Belgium and Britain also saw higher permitting volumes.

Investments in new capacity also increased last year due to the easing of inflation and other factors such as the European Commission’s wind power package in October which set out actions to strengthen and support the industry.

New investment in offshore wind totalled 30 billion euros ($32.52 billion) last year, up from 0.4 billion euros in 2022, the report said.

“Permitting has improved thanks to new EU rules. Investments are up. Record volumes are being auctioned and built. And governments have committed with the Wind Power Package and Charter to strengthen Europe’s wind energy industry,” said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

“Europe’s wind supply chain is returning to profit and building the new factories needed to deliver the EU’s targets. We’re now confident that we can get close to the EU goal that wind is 35% of electricity by 2030, up from 19% today – provided Europe accelerates the build-out of grids to connect all the new wind farms,” he added.

The main risk to meeting the 2030 target is delays in connecting wind farms to electricity grids and governments need to focus on accelerating the development of grids, the report said.

($1 = 0.9224 euros)

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Jason Neely)