LONDON (Reuters) - Investment in new wind power projects in Europe fell almost 25% to 19 billion euros ($20.7 billion) in 2019 compared to a year earlier and projects are likely to face financing delays this year, industry group WindEurope said on Tuesday.
When refinancing, acquisitions and other transactions related to existing wind farms was included, total investment in 2019 in Europe was 52 billion euros, 5 billion euros less than in 2018, the group said in its annual report.
“Wind energy projects make an attractive investment and in the long-term there should be plenty of capital available to finance them,” the report said
“In the short-term, the global economic situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain and delays to the financing of new farms are inevitable,” it said.
It said reduced debt market liquidity would make lenders less likely to offer funds, although under normal conditions current low interest rates would make it a good time for long-term borrowing and invetment.
Non-recourse debt provides 58% of all capital raised for new wind energy projects.
A three-month delay in wind farm construction and project financing could mean new investment in the industry in 2020 would be around the same level as 2019, the report said.
Growth beyond that would depend on whether the market fully recovered in 2020, it said.
($1 = 0.9200 euros)
Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Edmund Blair