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"Steady" European demand for wind turbines expected in 2009

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The amount of new wind energy capacity installed across Europe this year will increase by 1% compared to the number of new installations in 2008According to a forecast published today (August 21) by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), The amount of new wind energy capacity installed across Europe this year will increase by 1% compared to the number of new installations in 2008.

The EWEA estimates, based on forecasts produced by its 27 member

associations, that 8,600 megawatts (MW) of new capacity will be

installed across the 27 European Union member states in 2008, compared

to the 8,484MW that was installed last year.

The increase would

bring the European Union’s cumulative installed wind energy capacity up

from 2008’s 64,935MW to 73.535MW, the association added.

The

Brussels-based organisation claimed that the forecast was “encouraging”

in view of the current financial crisis and the fall in electricity

demand that had been caused by a decline in overall economic activity.

Commenting

on the estimates, the EWEA’s chief executive, Christian Kjaer, said: “I

am pleasantly surprised by the research results. They show that the

underlying demand for wind energy technology is currently strong enough

to make up for project delays caused by many banks’ continued

reluctance to provide project finance.

“Although the outlook for

2009 is encouraging, the real test of the wind energy sector’s ability

to withstand the financial crisis will be 2010,” he added.

The

association called for action to be taken “rapidly” to increase

liquidity in financial markets, claiming it was “essential” that

government money ploughed into banks across Europe in stimulus packages

was able to reach the “real economy”.

UK

The 1% growth is

expected to come from the newer members of the EU, the EU12 – such

as Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary – who are expected to install 150MW

more than they did in 2008, an increase of 35%.

While the EWEA

did not provide a UK-specific forecast, it did predict that, in the

EU15 – which includes the UK – capacity would not increase in 2009 by

more than it did in 2008.

Earlier this year, the EWEA published

figures revealing that the 8,484MW of new wind capacity brought on line

in 2008 meant that more wind power was installed in the EU than any

other wind-generating technology

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