EWEA: Offshore Wind Heads For Record Year

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According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), 118 new offshore wind turbines were fully connected to the grid in the first half of this year. Those 118 turbines have a capacity of 333 MW – well over half the 577 MW installed offshore last year – showing continuing strong growth in offshore wind power despite the financial crisis.

In addition, EWEA says 440 MW were installed but are not yet connected to the grid.

Overall, 16 offshore wind farms totaling 3,972 MW were under construction in the first half of this year. Of these, four became fully operational: Poseidon in Denmark, Alpha Ventus in Germany, and Gunfleet Sands and Robin Rigg in the U.K.

Currently, there are 948 offshore wind turbines in Europe, including 43 operational offshore wind farms, with a total capacity of 2,396 MW.

Among developers, E.ON Climate and Renewables developed 64% of the offshore capacity connected to the grid during the first half of this year, followed by DONG Energy (21%) and Vattenfall (11%).

Among manufacturers, Siemens accounted for 55% of the offshore capacity connected to the grid during the first half of this year, followed by Vestas (36%) and REpower (30.9%).

‘There is no doubt this burgeoning industry is being held back by a lack of finance,’ says Justin Wilkes, director of policy at EWEA. ‘Projects led by utilities are less affected, thanks to their ability to fund investments from their balance sheets, but independent developers are severely constrained.’

Wilkes says loans from public institutions such as the European Investment Bank are crucial and have already helped a number of projects, but they must be further extended.

SOURCE: European Wind Energy Association

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