European Offshore Wind Power Grows 51% in 2010

With 308 new offshore wind turbines installed in 2010–an increase of 51% in installed wind power capacity on the previous year–offshore wind power experienced a new record growth in Europe.

In total, 883 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, worth some EUR 2.6 billion, were installed in 2010 in nine wind farms in five countries, making a total of 2,964 MW, according to new figures are published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

The installed offshore wind power capacity now supplies the equivalent of 2.9 million average EU households with electricity–comparable with the amounts of power consumed by the cities Berlin and Brussels together–from a total of 1,136 offshore wind turbines. In a normal wind year they would produce 11.5 Terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity.

The United Kingdom leads Europe (and world), with a total installed offshore wind capacity of 1,341 MW. The UK is followed by Denmark (854 MW), The Netherlands (249 MW), Belgium (195 MW), Sweden (164 MW), Germany (92 MW), Ireland (25 MW), Finland (26 MW) and Norway with 2.3 MW.

EWEA’s Chief Executive, Christian Kjaer commented: “With over 50% percent market growth, 2010 sets a new record for European offshore wind energy. Meanwhile, the 29 new offshore turbine models announced during 2010 show a growing commitment to the offshore wind energy sector by large, global industrial players, offering a real boost for Europe’s economy, its efforts to tackle climate change, create green jobs and exports while reducing our dependence on imported fuel”.

During 2010, 29 new offshore turbine models were announced by 21 manufacturers: 44 new turbine models have been announced by 33 manufacturers over the last two years.

2010 saw an improving financing environment with private banks, financial institutions like the European Investment Bank (EIB), utilities and pension funds backing the sector. Two major deals completed in 2010 highlighted the brighter financial outlook: Thornton Bank C-Power and Trianel Wind Farm Borkum West both came to financial close.

“Finance remains a big challenge but we are seeing improvements with more banks and other financing institutions ready to invest in large offshore wind projects,” commented Kjaer.

EWEA forecasts continued strong growth next year. Between 1,000 MW and 1,500 MW of new offshore wind power capacity is expected to be fully grid connected in Europe during 2011, compared with 883 MW of new capacity in 2010.

Ten European wind farms are currently under construction with a total of 3,000 MW–these will more than double the installed capacity in the 45 already grid connected offshore wind farms.

EWEA research shows that a total of 19,000 MW of offshore wind capacity is already fully consented. If constructed, it would generate 66.6 Terawatt hours of electricity in a normal wind year–enough to supply 14 of the largest capitals in Europe with electricity, including Paris, London and Berlin. Not included in this figure is large additional offshore wind energy capacity planned but not yet fully consented in the UK.

An Executive Summary for the new EWEA report is available at the link below (pdf).

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