EWEA: Record Growth For European Union Offshore Wind Power

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With 308 new offshore wind turbines installed in 2010 – an increase of 51% in installed wind power capacity from the previous year – offshore wind power experienced a new record growth in the European Union (EU), according to the European Wind Energy Association's (EWEA) ‘European Offshore Wind Industry – Key Trends And Statistics 2010’ report.

In total, 883 MW of new capacity, worth approximately 2.6 billion euros, was installed in 2010 in nine wind farms in five countries, for a total of 2,964 MW.

The installed offshore wind power capacity now supplies the equivalent of 2.9 million average EU households with electricity – comparable with the amount of power consumed by the cities Berlin and Brussels together – from a total of 1,136 offshore wind turbines, according to the report.

The U.K. is the European and world leader in offshore wind installations, with a total installed offshore wind capacity of 1,341 MW. The U.K. is followed by Denmark (854 MW), the Netherlands (249 MW), Belgium (195 MW), Sweden (164 MW), Germany (92 MW), Ireland (25 MW), Finland (26 MW) and Norway (2.3 MW).

‘With over 50 percent market growth, 2010 sets a new record for European offshore wind energy,’ says Christian Kjaer, EWEA's chief executive. ‘Meanwhile, the 29 new offshore turbine models announced during 2010 show a growing commitment to the offshore wind energy sector by large, global industrial players, offering a real boost for Europe's economy, its efforts to tackle climate change, create green jobs and exports, while reducing our dependence on imported fuel.’

There was also an improving financing environment in 2010, with private banks, financial institutions, utilities and pension funds backing the sector. Two major deals completed in 2010 highlighted the brighter financial outlook: Thornton Bank C-Power and Trianel Wind Farm Borkum West both came to financial close.

EWEA forecasts continued strong growth next year. Between 1,000 MW and 1,500 MW of new offshore wind power capacity is expected to be fully grid connected in Europe during 2011, compared with 883 MW of new capacity in 2010.

Ten European wind farms are currently under construction worth a total of 3,000 MW – these will more than double the installed capacity in the 45 already grid-connected offshore wind farms.

SOURCE: European Wind Energy Association

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