Europe is set to see its installed wind energy capacity increase by 13 per cent as the sector continues to defy the economic downturn, according to new figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
The latest update, released to coincide with tomorrow's Global Wind Day, predicts that European wind farm developers will add 10GW of new capacity this year, increasing total installed capacity by 13 per cent to almost 85GW.
"We predict another strong year for wind turbine installations in Europe, repeating the high level achieved in 2009," said Christian Kjaer, chief executive of the EWEA, adding that there was also growing evidence that the sector had ridden out the worst of the recession. "What is encouraging is that, unlike in 2009, the 2010 results consist of orders placed after the start of the financial crisis. This shows continued and strong investor confidence in the technology."
Speaking to journalists at the report's launch, he added that orders for new turbines were picking up due to greater availability of capital, although he admitted that large offshore projects were still finding it difficult to secure loans and as result there was a requirement for the European Investment Bank (EIB) to continue to step up lending.
Last week, the EIB underlined its growing interest in the sector by approving £250m to Danish energy giant Dong Energy to help finance its involvement in the UK's Thames Gateway offshore wind farm.
The latest figures from the EWEA reveal that the economic crisis in Spain is expected to lead to a significant decline in new installations this year. But new installations in eastern European states such as Romania and Bulgaria are expected to more than compensate for this decline, while France and Italy are expected to each add about 1GW of new capacity.
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