CLEAR national energy and climate plans will have to be devised to end uncertainty over the growth of wind energy in Europe, according to “the voice of the wind industry”.

In its Wind Energy Outlook to 2023, WindEurope said if governments produced clear and ambitious national energy and climate plans (NECPs), improved the permits process for wind farms and maintained investment in new grid capacity, Europe’s wind energy capacity would rise by 88GW to 277GW by 2023.

However, it said if the NECPs were unambitious and permitting issues persisted, Europe would install only 67GW of new power. Conversely, it added that if permitting improved significantly and the NECPs were “super ambitious”, 112GW of new power cold be installed over the next five years.

WindEurope said that under all the scenarios, more than three-quarters of new installations would be onshore wind.

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Spain, Sweden and Norway were currently leading the growth in onshore wind, Germany was installing much less this year that it has traditionally and they expected France to show continued steady growth in onshore wind.

The UK would account for 35% of growth in offshore wind over the next five years, followed by the Netherlands and Germany, it said.

Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, said the markets were not performing as they should: “Wind energy should be growing rapidly when you consider all the interest in climate change plus the fact the wind is the cheapest from of new power energy production.

“But there is real uncertainty about how far it’s going to expand in the next five years. It’s getting harder to secure permits for new wind farms in many countries.

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“The grids and energy markets are still not functioning as they should, and many governments simply haven’t decided yet how much new wind they want and when and how they’re going to build it.

“The 2030 national energy and climate plans will be crucial in bringing clarity and improvements in all these areas. If they’re not ambitious we won’t meet the 32% renewables target let alone any higher targets.”

Dickson warned that indecision could put jobs at risk: “Jobs are at stake here. The wind industry employs over 300,000 people in Europe but has lost 35,000 jobs in Germany alone over the last four years in large part because of public policy issues. The European Green Deal needs to include a clear industrial policy for Europe’s low-carbon industries.”