Europe installed 3.6GW of new offshore wind capacity in 2019, which is a new record in annual installations, according to WindEurope.
Ten new offshore wind farms came online across five countries, with the UK accounting for nearly half of the new capacity with 1.7GW.
Germany follows with 1.1GW, Denmark with 374MW and Belgium with 370MW.
Europe now has 22GW of offshore wind, of which the UK and Germany account for three-quarters and Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands share nearly all of the rest.
The launch of the WindFloat Atlantic project in Portugal brought Europe to 45MW of floating offshore wind.
2019 also saw investment decisions in four new offshore wind farms, representing 1.4GW in capacity and EUR 6 billion in investments.
The average size of the turbines installed was 7.8MW. Offshore wind farms are also getting bigger and the average size doubled to over 600MW, WindEurope said.
“Europe really embraced offshore wind in 2019. Auction prices showed it’s now cheaper to build offshore wind than new gas or coal plants. Several Governments raised the amount they want to build. This time last year we were looking at 76 GW by 2030. Now it’s 100 GW,” said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.
“But we’re not currently building enough to deliver on that, let alone the more ambitious volumes needed to deliver the Green Deal. The EU Commission says we need up to 450 GW of offshore by 2050. That means 7 GW new offshore wind every year by 2030 and 18 GW onwards by 2050. Last year we built a record amount, but only 3 GW.”
According to WindEurope, the bigger numbers are doable and affordable. The new EU Offshore Wind Strategy in the Green Deal should map out how to mobilize the investments needed for 450GW and should provide a masterplan to develop the offshore and onshore grid connections and to get the maritime spatial planning right.