The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has released its forecast for wind power installations in 2010. It expects 10 GW of new wind power capacity to be installed in the EU during 2010, taking total installed capacity by the end of 2010 to almost 85 GW - an increase of 13%.

Last year – a record year for wind power installation – saw 10.163 GW of new wind power capacity installed, constituting 39% of all new power capacity installed in the EU that year. Total installed wind power capacity by the end of 2009 was 74.767 GW.

“We predict another strong year for wind turbine installations in Europe, repeating the high level achieved in 2009,” said Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA. “What is encouraging is that, unlike in 2009, the 2010 results consist of orders placed after the start of the financial crisis. This shows continued and strong investor confidence in the technology.”

“It is too early to say whether, for a third year running, there will be more wind energy capacity installed than any other electricity generating technology, but it is clear that wind energy will be competing for the top spot with new gas power plants,” added Kjaer.

2010 will see more installations in offshore wind power, with up to 1 GW of new capacity expected to be installed during the year compared to 577 MW installed in 2009.

EWEA expects France and Italy to again install around 1 GW each in 2010. The expected decline in installations in Spain will be more than compensated for by a doubling of installations in the new member states – led by Romania and Bulgaria - and significant growth in the UK, particularly offshore. Germany is expected to be the largest market this year, closely followed by the UK.