Europe installed 17GW of wind capacity in 2021. The EU 27 installed just 11GW – less than half of what should have been installed to stay on track as part of its ‘Fit for 55’ package. This was highlighted in a new report published on 24 February by WindEurope, a Brussels-based trade association.
The report analyses 2021 onshore and offshore wind installations in European countries as well as EU member states, and forecasts expected wind installation trends from 2022 to 2026.
The EU 27 needs to install 32GW annually to meet its 40% renewable energy target but is expected to only build an average of 18GW of new wind farms between 2022 and 2026, according to WindEurope.
Out of the largest wind-producing countries in Europe, only Spain and Italy generated more wind power than in previous years – and those capacity additions were modest at best.
WindEurope bases its predictions on the assumption that governments deliver on their commitments to grow wind capacity. If they fail to do so and continue to restrict planning requirements for wind farms, WindEurope predicts just 89GW of wind capacity installed over the period 2022–26.
The report stresses that governments must accelerate the authorisation of wind projects in Europe to meet its 2030 targets.
The report details an expected installation of 116GW of wind capacity in Europe overall over the next four years, three-quarters of which will be onshore wind.
In 2021, onshore wind turbines accounted for 81% of new wind installations in Europe. Within the EU, Sweden and Germany installed the greatest number of onshore wind turbines. The UK had the most turbine installations overall, accounting for 10GW out of Europe’s total of 27.8GW of new offshore installations. Wind power capacity in Europe today stands at 236GW.