Number of European offshore wind installations continues to grow

Europe installed and grid connected 293 offshore wind turbines in 2012 – more than one per working day. This brings the total to 1,662 turbines, in 55 offshore wind farms in European countries.

The 293 turbines installed in 2012 represent 1,165 Megawatts (MW), an increase of 33% compared to 2011 installations of 874 MW. This brings total offshore wind energy capacity to 4,995 MW. Overall, the UK remains the leader with nearly 60% of Europe’s total offshore capacity, followed by Denmark (18%), Belgium (8%) and Germany (6%).

“Offshore wind power is growing solidly”, said European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Policy Director Justin Wilkes. “But solid installation figures do not alter the fact that the wind industry is being hit by political and regulatory instability, the economic crisis, the higher cost of capital and austerity.”

Wilkes continued: “Europe is a world leader in offshore wind energy and could be creating even more jobs if governments gave greater policy certainty to investors, and resolved grid connection problems.”

The turbines installed in 2012 represent investments of around 4 billion Euros in offshore wind farms. Offshore prospects for 2013 and 2014 are positive with 14 offshore projects under construction, due to increase installed capacity by a further 3,300 MW, and bring total offshore capacity in Europe to 8,300 MW.

Offshore wind power market in 2012

  • 293 new offshore wind turbines, in 9 wind farms, representing investments of around €3.4 bn to €4.6 bn, were fully grid connected between 1 January and 31 December 2012, totalling 1,166 MW, 33% more than in 2011.
  • 369 turbines were erected during 2012, an average of 3.9 MW per day. 76 of these turbines are awaiting grid connection.
  • Work is on-going on five projects and foundation installation has started on a further nine new projects.
  • 2012 saw Siemens as the leading turbine supplier, Bladt as the leading substructure supplier, Nexans and JDR as the leading inter-array cable suppliers, Prysmian as the leading export cable supplier, and DONG Energy as the leading developer.

Cumulative offshore wind power market

  • 1,662 turbines installed and grid connected, totalling 4,995 MW in 55 wind farms in ten European countries: up from 1,371 turbines, totalling 3,827 MW, at end 2011, an increase of 31%.
  • Overall, EU Member States are lagging behind their offshore wind energy NREAP objectives.
  • 73% of substructures are monopiles, 13% jackets, 6%, tripods, 5% tripiles and 3% gravity based foundations. There are also two full scale grid connected floating turbines, and two down-scaled prototypes.

Market outlook for 2013 and 2014

  • Once completed, the 14 offshore projects currently under construction will increase installed capacity by a further 3.3 GW, bringing cumulative capacity in Europe to 8.3 GW.
  • Preparatory work has started on seven other projects, which will have a cumulative installed capacity of 1,174 MW.
  • 2013 installations could be around 1,400 MW and 2014 installations around 1,900 MW.

Trends: turbines, foundations, water depth and distance to shore

  • The average size of offshore wind turbines installed in 2012 is 4 MW; it is expected that average wind turbine size will not increase significantly over the coming two years.
  • Average offshore wind farm size was 271 MW in 2012, 36% more than the previous year. The trend towards larger projects is expected to continue over the coming years.
  • The average water depth of wind farms completed, or partially completed, in 2012 was 22 metres (m) and the average distance to shore 29 km. Both average water depth and distance to shore are expected to increase over the coming years.
Source: European Wind Energy Association, 28th January 2013

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