Europe added close to 3.2GW of offshore wind capacity last year, taking the total installed and grid-connected capacity from 12.6GW in 2016 to 15.8GW at the end of 2017 and thus marking a 25% increase in just one year. Including sites with partial grid connection, there are now 92 offshore wind farms in eleven European countries and 4,149 grid-connected wind turbines, WindEurope reports in its annual offshore wind statistics.
The UK is first with 43% of all grid-connected turbines, followed by Germany (28%), Denmark (12%), the Netherlands (9%) and Belgium (6%), representing the top five markets. Combined, the top five countries represent 98% of all grid-connected turbines in Europe.
Fourteen projects were completed in 2017, including the first floating offshore wind farm, with the UK and Germany leading the way in new installations last year by adding 1.7GW and 1.3GW, respectively.
Work is currently underway on further eleven projects, also in Germany and the UK. Once completed, these projects will add a further 2.9GW and bring the cumulative capacity in Europe to 18.7GW. By 2020, offshore wind is projected to grow to a total installed capacity of 25GW, WindEurope states.
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.”
The average size of installed offshore wind turbine in 2017 was 5.9MW, a 23% increase on 2016. The average size of the grid-connected offshore wind farms in 2017 was 493MW, 34% higher than the previous year.