Sian Crampsie

Wind energy companies raised a total of €43 billion in 2016 to finance their wind farm project development and operational activities in Europe.

WindEurope, the wind sector’s industry association, says that the finance raised contributed to the construction of new wind farms, refinancing operations, project acquisitions and public market fundraising, and rose 22 per cent over 2015 levels.

New asset financing for wind power projects reached €27.6 billion in 2016 with a record breaking €18.2 billion in offshore wind. Onshore wind investments dropped by five per cent to €9.4 billion, the first decrease in five years. 

The UK was the biggest market in 2016 with €12.7 billion raised for new onshore and offshore projects; Germany came second with €5.3 billion.

WindEurope expects investment levels to fall in 2017, however, and says that it is also concerned about the uneven growth geographically of wind energy in Europe.

“Eighty per cent of new investments came from four countries alone,” said Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope. “Fourteen EU Member States did not announce any new wind energy investments in 2016 … Only seven EU Member States have clear policies for renewables beyond 2020 – the unclear policy outlook in the rest makes investors and project developers go elsewhere.”

Investment levels over the past two years have been inflated by a rush to get projects underway before countries transition to auction-based remuneration mechanisms in place of green certificate and feed-in tariff systems, WindEurope says. There will therefore be a lull in investment in 2017 as companies await auction results before making final investment decisions.