Europe's Offshore Wind Power Grew Twenty-Five Percent in 2017

Europe's Offshore Wind Power Grew Twenty-Five Percent in 2017

Britain accounted for more than half of the new offshore wind power capacity built in Europe a year ago, as the sector broke installation records across the continent.

Growth has been driven by reduced costs in installing offshore turbines, efficiencies arising from the size of turbines, and increased capacity, the industry group said.

WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson said: "A 25% increase in one year is spectacular".

The total capacity in Europe now stands at 15.8GW, with a further 11 projects in the United Kingdom and Germany expected to boost capacity to 18.7GW. According to WindEurope, 4,149 turbines operating across 11 countries now provide a total 15.78 gigawatts of capacity.

A year ago also saw the world's first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland, begin to send electricity to the Scottish grid.

As highlighted by the figures above, these wind farms were mostly installed in the United Kingdom and Germany - in fact, if you do the maths, you'll realise that a whopping 3GW of the 3.1GW of new wind energy came from these two countries. Offshore wind is now a mainstream part of the power system and the costs have fallen rapidly.

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However, WindEurope warned that beyond 2020 the picture for offshore wind is less clear. Much depends what new offshore wind volumes governments commit to in the National Energy and Climate Action Plans for 2030.

By 2030, there could be 70 GW of offshore wine capacity in Europe. These investments are worth a total €7.5 billion ($9.3 billion).

As for which equipment manufacturers are reaping the benefits of the wind boom, WindEurope said Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy accounted for 51.3% of the new capacity.

Regarding connection and ownership, Ørsted - formerly DONG Energy - connected the most megawatts to the grid in 2017, gaining a 19% markets share of ownership in the process.

In the short-term, Belgium and Denmark are expected to add between 1 to 1.3GW of capacity each, while the Netherlands has pledged to install 1GW a year between 2023 and 2030; already, the Borselle III and IV and Hollandse Kust Zuid I, II, III & IV windfarms are scheduled for connection by 2022.

"The message to Governments as they prepare their plans is "go for it on offshore wind": it's perfectly affordable and getting cheaper still; it's a stable form of power with increasing capacity factors; and it's "made in Europe" and supports jobs, industry, and exports", he concluded. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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