A photo of SSE's Beatrice offshore wind farm in Scotland

WindEurope: Offshore Wind FIDs Reached EUR 30 Billion in 2023; Wind Energy Sector to Employ More than Half-Million People in 2030

Last year was a record year for offshore wind projects reaching a final investment decision (FID) with nearly 9 GW of capacity hitting this milestone in 2023, according to WindEurope’s annual report, issued on 28 February. Ahead of its annual event, opening today in Bilbao, the European wind energy industry organisation also released a new report, which anticipates the European wind energy sector, including both onshore and offshore industries, to employ more than 500,000 people.

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Europe had 272 GW of installed wind energy capacity at the end of 2023, 238 GW onshore and 34 GW offshore. Of this, installed capacity in the EU was 220 GW, 201 GW onshore and 19 GW offshore.

New wind energy installations in Europe totalled 18.3 GW in 2023 (the EU installed 16.2 GW), with offshore wind accounting for 21 per cent of this with 3.8 GW of wind farm capacity connected to the grid. Nearly half of the newly connected capacity was in the Netherlands (1.9 GW) with the remainder coming from the UK (833 MW), France (360 MW), Denmark (344 MW), Germany (329 MW) and Norway (35 MW).

Offshore Wind FIDs Reach EUR 30 Billion in 2023

Offshore wind also saw a major increase in investments in new projects in 2023, with final investment decisions (FIDs) reached on 9 GW of offshore wind farms. Investments from FIDs in new offshore wind reached a record EUR 30 billion, a major rebound from 2022 when there were hardly any, WindEurope states in its Wind energy in Europe: 2023 Statistics and the outlook for 2024-2030 report.

Governments in Europe awarded 27 GW of new capacity through wind energy auctions last year, 13.5 GW for onshore wind and 13.5 GW for offshore wind.

According to the report, the EU wind energy target for 2030 is within reach, mainly thanks to improvements in permitting and a rebound in investments, as well as the EU’s Wind Power Package which 26 Governments endorsed in the European Wind Charter.

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In the outlook for new wind installations from 2024 to 2030, WindEurope says that the EU will install 29 GW a year on average over this period and bring the EU’s installed wind capacity to 393 GW in 2030.

This figure – based on the project pipeline, announced investments, permitting data and government auction volumes – is lower than the EU target of 425 GW, for which 33 GW need to be installed annually.

Over the 2024-2030 period, two-thirds of new installations will continue to be onshore but offshore wind will rapidly pick up towards the end of the decade, with new offshore installations expected to be almost the same as new onshore installations in 2030, according to WindEurope.

Looking at obstacles to the accelerated expansion of wind energy, WindEurope says the main risk is the timely expansion of Europe’s onshore and offshore electricity grids.

Wind Energy Sector to Employ More than Half-Million People

In a new report from Rystad Energy, which WindEurope will release today, 20 March, at the WindEurope Annual Event in Bilbao, the Additionally, offshore wind capacity is expected to ramp up more rapidly from 2026 onwards.

According to the report’s central scenario, which represents the most likely outcome for European wind capacity build-out through 2030, offshore and onshore wind installation combined are expected to surpass 50 GW per year by the late 2020s.

Image: WindEurope / Rystad Energy

On a cumulative capacity basis, the scenario anticipates 260 GW of wind energy capacity additions and 532,000 people to be employed in the European wind sector in 2030, up from 324,000 today.

Wind energy’s direct contribution to the European GDP in 2030 is expected to be EUR 49 billion.

The scenario also forecasts wind energy production by 2030 to be enough to save Europe 190 billion cubic meters (bcm) of fossil fuel imports per year and result in economic savings of EUR 73 billion per year.


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