EU Offshore Wind Grows, but Warning Signs Evident


277 new offshore wind turbines, totaling 1,045MW, were fully grid-connected in Europe during the first six months of 2013. This is double compared to the same period in 2012 when 523.2MW were installed. In addition, 268 foundations were installed and 254 turbines erected, all during the first 181 days of the year. “Offshore wind power installations were significantly higher than in the first six months of last year,” said Justin Wilkes, director of policy at the European Wind Energy Association. “But financing of new projects has slowed down with only one project reaching financial close so far this year. This, together with a lack of orders being placed for offshore wind turbines, substructures and components, reflects the regulatory uncertainty in key offshore markets including Germany and the UK. It highlights the significant challenges faced by the offshore wind sector.

“Offshore wind is a new industry that creates jobs, reduces fossil fuel imports and in which Europe is a world leader with huge export opportunities. The installation rate shows what the European offshore wind industry is now capable of. But to attract investment to the sector governments need to provide a stable regulatory framework and the EU should set a binding renewable target for 2030,” Wilkes said.

Total offshore capacity in Europe is now at 6,040MW in 58 wind farms across ten countries—up from 4,336MW in June 2012.

21 offshore wind farms are under construction or in preparation, with a total capacity of 5,694MW.

The 277 wind turbines fully grid-connected in  the first half of 2013 were in seven wind farms: Thornton Bank (BE), Gunfleet Sands 3 (UK), Lincs (UK), London Array (UK), Teesside (UK), Anholt (DK), BARD offshore 1 (DE).

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