Europe invested $30 billion in new wind farms last year, report shows

Key Points
  • Investment in new onshore wind facilities hit 16.4 billion euros last year, while investments in new offshore projects reached 10.3 billion euros.
  • Europe is home to a number of major wind power projects, including the world's biggest operational offshore facility, Walney Extension.
A wind farm on the outskirts of the Lake District in Cumbria, U.K.
Ashley Cooper | Hulton Archive | Getty Images

The wind industry invested 26.7 billion euros ($30.05 billion) in new European wind farms in 2018, according to a new report from industry body WindEurope.

The investment is similar to recent years but, because of cost reductions, it will finance a record 16.7 gigawatts (GW) in new capacity, WindEurope said.

It added that 1 megawatt (MW) of new onshore wind capacity now needed 1.4 million euros in capital expenditure, down from 2 million euros in 2015. In the offshore sector, 1 MW of capacity needs 2.5 million euros compared to 4.5 million euros in 2015.

In total, the wind industry invested 65 billion euros in Europe last year, according to the Financing and Investment Trends report. As well as investments in new assets, money was raised for refinancing operations, public market fundraising and project and company acquisitions.

Breaking the figures down, investment in new onshore wind facilities hit 16.4 billion euros last year, while investments in new offshore projects reached 10.3 billion euros.

Europe is home to a number of major wind power projects, including the world's biggest operational offshore facility, the Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm. Located in the Irish Sea, it has a total capacity of 659 megawatts and is capable of powering nearly 600,000 homes in the U.K, according to Danish energy business Orsted.

"Wind energy got 60% of all the new investments in power generation capacity in Europe last year," Giles Dickson, the CEO of WindEurope, said in a statement Thursday.

"And it was a record year for the amount of new wind energy capacity financed," Dickson added. "Cost reduction means investors now get more MW per euro they invest. And lenders are more comfortable with the risks, so the costs of finance are falling too."