Europe installed 2.6GW of new offshore wind energy capacity in 2018, an 18% increase, according to the latest statistics by WindEurope.
Fifteen new offshore wind farms were commissioned last year, with the UK and Germany accounting for 85% of the new capacity by adding 1.3GW and 969MW respectively.
The average size of the new turbines installed last year was 6.8MW, 15% up compared to 2017. The UK installed the world’s biggest offshore turbines, 8.8MW, and launched the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the 659MW Walney Extension.
Twelve new offshore wind projects reached the Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2018, which represent a further 4.2GW of capacity and EUR 10.3 billion of investment.
The amount invested was 37% up on 2017 but the capacity covered was up 91%, said to demonstrate how quickly costs are falling.
A further six offshore wind farms are currently under construction in Europe, including Hornsea Project One in the UK, the world’s first +1GW offshore wind farm.
“Offshore wind continues to grow strongly in Europe. The total capacity expanded by a further 18% last year. Offshore wind now represents 2% of all the electricity consumed in Europe. And with a big pipeline of projects under construction and development, this number will rise significantly,” said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.
“The technology keeps developing. The turbines keep getting bigger. And the costs keep falling. It’s now no more expensive to build offshore wind than it is to build coal or gas plants. And it’s a good deal cheaper than new nuclear.”
Europe now has 105 offshore wind farms installed across 11 countries with a total capacity of 18.5GW, which represents around 10% of the total installed wind energy capacity in Europe.
According to Dickson, more and more governments are recognizing the advantages of offshore wind, however, a few countries are underperforming and risk missing out.
“Sweden is not building any offshore wind despite great potential. Germany has only a modest target for 2030. And the ‘gamma minus’ performer is France which still has no offshore wind farms nor is it clear when they will have. These countries have a chance to put things right this year with their National Energy and Climate Plans – they should grab it with two hands,” Dickson concluded.