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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 2008

According 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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