In the first six months of 2015, the European offshore wind industry installed more new capacity than in any other year on record as several projects reached completion and deployment of larger turbines increased, according to a new report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
The report says installations in the first half of the year touched 2,342.9 MW – tripling the grid-connected capacity for the same period last year. As a result, total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe hit 10,393.6 MW from 82 wind farms across 11 countries.
‘It has taken the offshore wind industry just six months to set the best year the sector has ever seen in terms of installed capacity," explains Kristian Ruby, EWEA's chief policy officer. "While this clearly shows a commitment to offshore wind development in Europe, a number of completed projects, explosive growth in Germany and the use of higher capacity wind turbines are major contributors to these numbers.’
With 584 wind turbines fully grid connected in the first half of 2015, the average machine size rose to 4.2 MW from 3.5 MW a year earlier, as manufacturers continue to develop larger models with higher energy capture, according to the report.
‘To ensure healthy growth in the coming years, and to guarantee offshore wind energy plays its role in meeting the EU's competitiveness, security and decarbonization objectives, the industry needs long-term visibility," notes Ruby. "Strong reforms to the operation of Europe's electricity market and much-needed upgrades to infrastructure to help the integration of wind energy must be a priority. It is also critical that Member States meet renewable energy commitments toward the end of this decade and set out a clear game plan to meet Europe's 2030 targets.’
The full EWEA report is available here.