According to an analysis by WindEurope, the European offshore wind industry drew in EUR 14 billion in new investments in the first six months of this year.
Seven projects, financing a total of 3.7 GW of new capacity, reached final investment decision, and the U.K. accounted for nearly three-quarters of those new investments, WindEurope says.
Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, comments, “The record investment numbers show a clear industry commitment to offshore wind. We expect installations will pick up significantly in 2017, but there are a lot of challenges out there still on offshore wind.”
WindEurope says the volume of new grid-connected installations in the first half of this year was 511 MW, 78% down on the same period in 2015. However, WindEurope expects this number to pick up next year and toward 2020.
Total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe is now 11,538 MW across 82 wind farms in 11 countries. Only Germany (258 MW) and the Netherlands (253 MW) added new capacity in the first six months. The average size of the 114 new turbines installed was 4.8 MW, up from 4.2 MW a year ago, the group asserts.
In June, a memorandum of understanding and work program were signed by energy ministers from nine European countries to enhance cooperation on offshore wind. Also, WindEurope adds, 11 energy companies signed a declaration to reduce offshore wind costs to below EUR 80/MWh by 2025. This assumes an annual build-out of 4 GW-7 GW of offshore wind from 2021 onward.
“The costs of offshore wind are falling, but we need healthy volumes in the market to sustain this. The current pipeline of projects is not enough, and the commitments member states have so far made for beyond 2020 fall well short of what’s needed,” Dickson adds.
“We’re No. 1 today, with over 90 percent of the world’s capacity, but the U.S. and China are now moving to rapidly expand their offshore wind investments.”
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