Europe’s offshore wind capacity grew 25% in just one year, according to statistics released by Wind Europe.
According to key trends and statistics published by WindEurope, in 2017 Europe installed 3.1 GW of new offshore wind energy, taking total capacity to 15.8 GW, an increase of 25% in just one year. This corresponds to 560 new offshore wind turbines across 17 wind farms.
A total of 13 new offshore wind farms were completed in 2017, including the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland. The UK and Germany accounted for most of them, installing 1.7 GW and 1.3 GW respectively. Europe now has 94 grid-connected wind farms and 4,149 offshore wind turbines operating across 11 countries.
Offshore wind turbines are getting bigger, in this way the average size of the new turbines in 2017 was 5.9 MW, 23% up on 2016. In addition, the average capacity of the new offshore wind farms was 493 MW in 2017, a 34% increase in relation to 2016. Capacity factors are increasing too. There are projects in Europe operating already at capacity factors of 54% (Anholt 1, Denmark) or even 65% (Dudgeon, UK).
Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO, said: “A 25% increase in one year is spectacular. Offshore wind is now a mainstream part of the power system. And the costs have fallen rapidly. Investing in offshore wind today costs no more than in conventional power generation. It just shows Europe’s ready to embrace a much higher renewables target for 2030. 35% is easily achievable. Not least now that floating offshore wind farms are also coming on line”.
2017 also saw final investment decisions (FIDs) taken a further 2.5 GW new capacity in UK and Germany. These investments are worth a total €7.5bn. In 2017 lenders extended €6.2bn in non-recourse debt for the financing of new and operational offshore wind farms.
The report published by WindEurope on February summarises construction and financing activity in European offshore wind farms from 1 January to 31 December 2017.
A further 11 offshore wind farms are currently under construction, and they’ll add another 2.9 GW. The project pipeline should then give us 25 GW total by 2020. One of the most relevant project that appears in this encouraging scenario is East Anglia ONE.
East Anglia ONE wind farm, one of the three multi-scale offshore pilots foreseen in the ROMEO project, will be put into operation by Iberdrola in 2020. The installation, located in the South coast of England, will cover a total area equivalent to 30,000 football pitches and will supply around 500.00 British households.