Offshore wind in Europe reached record levels in 2017. According to statistics released on February 6 by WindEurope, Europe installed 3.1 GW of new offshore wind, taking total capacity to 15.8 GW, an increase of 25% in just one year.
WindEurope said 13 new offshore wind farms were completed, including the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland.
“A 25% increase in one year is spectacular,” WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said. “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 percent is easily achievable, now that floating offshore wind farms are also coming online,” he added.
The UK and Germany accounted for most of the wind farms, installing 1.7 GW and 1.3 GW, respectively. Europe now has over 4,000 offshore wind turbines operating across 11 countries, making a total of 15.8 GW of installed and grid-connected capacity.
The average size of the new turbines was 5.9 MW, a 23 percent increase in 2016. The average size of the new offshore wind farms was 493 MW, a 34 percent increase in 2016. Capacity factors are increasing too. There are projects in Europe already operating at capacity factors of 54 percent (Anholt 1, Denmark) or 65 percent (Dudgeon, UK), according to WindEurope.
A further 11 offshore wind farms are currently under construction, and they’ll add another 2.9 GW of power. The project pipeline should then give us 25 GW total by 2020. Offshore wind in Europe remains heavily concentrated in a small number of countries, with 98 percent in the UK, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium.