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Europe set for ‘bumper’ year of wind installations despite ‘worrying trends’

Alexander Kirch | EyeEm | Getty Images

The first half of 2017 saw 6.1 gigawatts (GW) of extra wind energy capacity installed in Europe, according to figures released on Thursday by industry body WindEurope.

WindEurope said that the figures meant that Europe was on course for a "bumper year for installations", although it cautioned that they hid some worrying trends.

Breaking the figures down, 4.8 GW of onshore wind capacity was installed in the first six months of 2017, with the majority "heavily concentrated" in Germany, the U.K. and France. In the offshore sector, 1.3 GW was installed.

The first half of the year saw 8.3 billion euros ($9.72 billion) spent on new asset financing, with 5.4 billion euros in onshore and 2.9 billion euros in offshore. WindEurope said that the latter figure was down from a record high of 14 billion euros in the first half of 2016.

The "trend for market concentration" was again noted, with 53 percent of total investments made in Germany.

"We are on track for a good year in wind capacity installations but growth is driven by a handful of markets," Pierre Tardieu, chief policy officer at WindEurope, said in a statement. "At least ten EU countries have yet to install a single MW so far this year," Tardieu added.

"On onshore wind, the end of U.K. Renewable Obligation scheme will lead to even greater market concentration in Germany, Spain and France."

With regards to offshore, Tardieu described the level of finance activity as a concern. "Although this won't translate into lower installations for another few years, the industry needs clarity on volumes for the post-2020 period to maintain the current cost reduction trend," he said.