Europe's Renewable Energy Landscape: Solar Thrives, Wind Faces Hurdles
Posted 27/10/2023 14:42
Europe is experiencing a notable shift in its renewable energy landscape, with solar installations exceeding expectations and poised to witness a 30% growth this year, primarily driven by robust rooftop solar deployments. Germany, leading the charge, is expected to achieve a record high in total solar PV capacity, while other emerging markets like Poland and the Netherlands are also experiencing considerable growth, predominantly due to the increasing popularity of rooftop installations.
In contrast, the wind energy sector, encompassing both onshore and offshore installations, is facing significant obstacles that have hindered its progress in 2023. Onshore wind, in particular, has encountered challenges such as permitting bottlenecks, rising supply chain costs, and a projected 11% drop in new installations compared to the previous year. Although Germany remains resilient in its onshore wind capacity growth, several other major players such as Sweden, France, Finland, Spain, and Poland are anticipated to undergo substantial declines in their annual installed capacity.
Offshore wind capacity, while expected to grow modestly, has also experienced setbacks, primarily attributed to project delays, supply chain constraints, and regulatory changes. The UK and Denmark, in particular, have revised their 2030 offshore wind targets downward due to these challenges, signifying a potential mismatch between initial ambitions and the current realities of the industry. Despite these obstacles, the offshore wind sector continues to demonstrate its long-term promise, with France making a notable entry and the successful launch of Equinor's Hywind Tampen, the world's largest floating offshore wind farm.
For Europe to reignite growth in the wind sector, comprehensive reforms in project development and permitting processes, coupled with sustained investments in research and development, are imperative. The sector's pivotal role in contributing to decarbonization and fostering economic growth remains a crucial driver for the region to address these challenges and steer the renewable energy transition toward a more sustainable and resilient future.