2017 was a record year for offshore wind in Europe according to statistics released by WindEurope.
The industry association says that 3.1 GW of new offshore capacity was installed in Europe in 2017, bringing total installed capacity to 15.8 GW, a 25 per cent increase over 2016. Some 13 new offshore wind farms were completed, it added, most of them in Germany and the UK.
WindEurope says that there are now over 4000 offshore wind turbines operating across 11 countries in the region. The average size of individual wind turbines and wind farms is also continuing to increase, it added.
Other notable industry achievements in 2017 include the start-up of Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm. Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO, called the industry’s progress “spectacular”.
“Offshore wind is now a mainstream part of the power system,” said Dickson. “And the costs have fallen rapidly. Investing in offshore wind today costs no more than in conventional power generation.”
According to WindEurope, a further 11 offshore wind farms are currently under construction that will add another 2.9 GW of capacity. Installed capacity should reach 25 GW total by 2020, Wind Europe said, adding that the transition to market-based support mechanisms and auctions has slowed down new investments.
2017 saw final investment decisions (FIDs) taken on 2.5 GW of new capacity. These investments are worth a total €7.5 billion. This is down on 2016, but reflects falling costs, WindEurope said.