Europe's wind energy industry is looking forward to a five-year period of solid growth according to the latest findings from WindEurope, the industry's body.
The continent will see its wind power capacity increase at 17.4GW annually on average, according to the newly published 'Wind Energy Outlook in Europe' findings.
Installed capacity could reach 258GW in Europe by 2022, with the majority of new wind capacity arriving via onshore developments, WindEurope's analysts have found.
This growth will be powered forward by powerful new wind turbines which are bigger than 4MW in onshore developments and up to 8MW each for offshore wind farms. These are expected to become the 'new normal' and drive the industry's next jump forward.
The EU is already the home of some of the largest and most ambitious projects in wind energy. The Irish Sea is home to the Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm. It is now the biggest working offshore wind development in the world with a total installed capacity of 659 MW. This could power almost 600,000 homes.
WindEurope has also found that Germany will hold its position as the wind power leader in Europe. The country is already set to have 73GW of total installed capacity by 2022, although new installations will slow down as it approaches 2022.
The CEO of WindEurope, Giles Dickson, said that the wind power industry remained on its trajectory for strong additional expansion across Europe in the next five years. He added that the growth was the result of earlier power decisions, however, and added that the outlook for future wind investment decisions was less clear. This, he explained, was the direct result of governments failing to clarify their renewable energy plans - and specifically their objectives for new wind farms - for the period up to 2030.