According to analyst Emerging Energy Research (EER), the market has stabilised after rapid early growth, and greenfield opportunities have dwindled in many countries.
But, of the 30 countries evaluated in EER’s study, Wind Power Development Strategies in Europe, 2008–2020, only a handful were approaching market maturity. The remainder - including some of Europe’s largest markets, such as France and Italy - are either early growth markets or scaling markets (countries with strong remaining resources and stable regulatory frameworks). Combined, these countries could account for more than 50% of Europe’s new wind power capacity over the next 12 years.
“Despite global financial gloom, Europe presents many growth opportunities,” says EER Senior Analyst Eduard Sala de Vedruna. “Continued build-out in leading western markets, Eastern European market emergence, offshore, re-powering … all of these drivers are behind Europe’s surge to almost 150 GW of added capacity by 2020.”
For a country-by-country comparison of the European wind power environment to qualify market growth prospects and investment attractiveness, Emerging Energy Research ranks each market based on five key components:
- Wind resources
- Regulatory mechanisms
- Site approval
- Grid connection
Some of the most significant shifts highlighted by EER’s 2008 Rankings are the improving positions of France driven by an increasingly transparent permitting process and support for utility-sized projects with a €0.082/kWh feed-in tariff; and Sweden, where an improved regulatory framework has simplified the planning process for projects up to 25 MW.
Countries whose market attractiveness declined in 2008 included Portugal where a fully permitted or tendered grid capacity will limit development; and Greece, which is struggling with a bureaucratic planning and lengthy permitting process that can take up to five years.