Europe added almost 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy capacity in the first half of 2018, industry body WindEurope said Thursday, a marked slowdown from record numbers last year.
WindEurope said the new figures were "in line with expectations" but were lower than the same period in 2017, which saw 6.1 GW added.
The onshore sector added more than 3.3 GW in the first half of 2018, while the offshore sector added 1.12 GW. Onshore additions were driven by markets in Germany, France and Denmark, while additions to the offshore sector were mainly in the U.K., Belgium and Denmark.
Looking forward, WindEurope said it expected a total of 13.5 GW of capacity to be added in 2018. In 2017, Europe installed 16.8 GW of gross additional wind power capacity, a record year for annual installations.
"We are on track for a solid year in new wind farm installations but the growth is driven by just a handful of markets," Pierre Tardieu, WindEurope's chief policy officier, said in a statement.
Tardieu cautioned that the figures also masked what he described as "some worrying trends." While France had installed a lot of onshore wind in 2018, it hadn't issued a single new permit for that sector in the last eight months due to an administrative issue.
"In offshore wind, Europe is too dependent on the U.K., which is striding ahead in current installations and in committing to future volumes," Tardieu went on to add. "By contrast, the rate of new installations has slowed down in Germany. Other countries also need to beef up and speed up their plans on offshore wind."
Globally, over 52 GW of wind power was added in 2017, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. China led the way, installing more than 19 GW of capacity, followed by the U.S. and Germany, who installed more than 7 GW and 6.5 GW respectively.