A total of €51.2bn was invested in wind energy in Europe 2017, up 9% on 2016, according to a new report from WindEurope.
The report – 'Financing and Investment Trends' – noted that €22.3bn of the total was in new wind farms, with the remainder on refinancing of existing projects, acquisitions and public fundraising.
The €22.3bn was down on the €28bn invested in 2016, but accounted for more capacity – 11.5GW compared to 10.3GW – reflecting the falling cost of the wind power, WindEurope said.
Onshore investments stood at €14.8bn, up from €9.3bn in 2016, while offshore wind fell to €7.5bn from €18.bn in the previous year.
Acquisitions jumped to €14.4bn last year, from only €6.8bn in 2016.
The report said that 82 lenders were active in the sector in 2017, including multilateral financial institutions, export credit agencies and commercial banks from both Europe and Asia.
It added that green bonds are emerging as an alternative source of debt, with €7bn issued for wind energy last year out of a total of €17.5bn.
Twenty European countries made investments in wind in 2017, up from 16 in 2016, although the UK and and Germany accounted for half of all new final investment decisions, WindEurope said.
Investments in southern and eastern Europe continue to be low, representing just 16% of the total new assets financed or €3.5bn.
“A lack of regulatory stability is largely responsible for this,” the report said.
WindEurope chief policy officer Pierre Tardieu: “With €51.2bn, wind energy accounted for half of all power sector investments in 2017.
“The outlook for 2018 is strong with investment volumes expected to increase.”