EU wind capacity hits 100 gigawatt mark - industry

Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:00pm GMT

* Low interest rates not translating into cheap loans

* EU austerity measures increase political risk

BRUSSELS, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Installed EU wind capacity has reached the 100 gigawatt mark - the equivalent of power generated from 39 nuclear plants or a train of coal stretching from Buenos Aires to Brussels - but financial risk threatens growth, industry body EWEA said.

"We have just in the past couple of weeks passed 100 gigawatts of total installed capacity in Europe," Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association, told a small group of reporters.

"We have been adding about 10 gigawatts per year for a couple of years and it will be around the same this year," he added. "Whether that will continue in 2013, I can't say. There's too much political uncertainty."

The capital-intensive industry faces a challenge after banks shortened the maturity of loans and increased rates, meaning wind power has not benefited from low interest rates, Kjaer said.

It is seeking long-term investors, including pension funds and insurers to make up the shortfall.

At the same time, the EU economic crisis, means austerity measures have led to abrupt changes in government policies on renewable energy, increasing political risk across the bloc.

The growth in wind power this year has included 400 megawatts (MW) developed by DONG Energy, off the coast of Denmark, and 48 MW developed by EDF Energies Nouvelles Polska in Poland, EWEA said.   Continued...

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