US wind project activity grows to record 39 GW; Europe wind investments rise 26% in 2018

Our pick of the latest wind power news you need to know.

US wind development pipeline hikes 11% in Q1 to 39.2 GW

The U.S. wind development pipeline grew by 11% in the first quarter of 2019 to a record capacity of 39.2 GW, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said its latest quarterly market report.

The pipeline includes plants under construction and projects which have signed a long-term contract, placed turbine orders or are proceeding under utility ownership. Wind developers signed 2.7 GW of wind power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the first quarter. Utilities also announced plans to build and own a further 1.0 GW.

  US wind capacity in advanced development

                               (Click image to enlarge)

Source: AWEA, April 2019.

The U.S. installed 841 MW of wind power capacity in the first quarter, double the amount installed in Q1 2018. Some 536 MW of this capacity was installed in Iowa, where installed capacity is now almost 9 GW.

U.S. wind installations are forecast to surge in the next two years as developers race to meet production tax credit (PTC) deadlines.

Wood Mackenzie predicts 11.0 GW of capacity will be installed in the US in 2019, rising to 12.9 GW in 2020.

                US forecast wind installations by quarter (GW)

                                                  (Click image to enlarge)

Source: Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables, January 2019

Europe wind investments hike 26% as project acquisitions surge

Europe wind energy investments rose 26% in 2018 to 65 billion euros ($72.8 billion), boosted by rising project acquisitions, industry group WindEurope said in a new report.

Investments in project acquisitions, either during operations or under development, doubled in 2018 to 18.9 billion euros, the report said.

Some 26.7 billion euros was invested in new projects in 2018. New onshore projects raised 16.4 billion euros of investments while offshore projects raised 10.3 billion euros. Falling costs meant that a record 16.7 GW of new capacity was financed, of which 12.5 GW was onshore and 4.2 GW offshore.

                          Europe wind energy investments in 2018

                                                          (Click image to enlarge)

Source: WindEurope, April 2019

Wind farm investments continue to be concentrated in Northern and Western Europe. UK projects secured the most investments in Europe in 2019, mostly for offshore wind farms. Southern, Central and Eastern Europe accounted for only 4% of wind investments.

                        New wind asset finance in 2018 by country

                                                          (Click image to enlarge)

Source: WindEurope, April 2019

Total investments in new wind projects are expected to increase in 2019, WindEurope said.

"This will be driven by onshore wind projects which have already been awarded public financial support and are expected to reach FID [final investment decision] this year. Offshore wind investments are expected to be similar to 2018 levels," the group said.

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