2016 was a record year for investment in Europe’s offshore wind industry, WindEurope has reported.
The industry group says that last year over €18 billion was ploughed into offshore wind projects that will be built around Europe in the coming years. It expects installed capacity to be double that of today by 2020.
In 2016 some 1558 MW of offshore capacity was installed in Europe, bringing cumulative capacity to 12 631 MW, WindEurope said. It expects around 3 GW of new capacity to be added in 2017, but says that the pipeline of projects beyond 2020 could wane due to uncertainty over long-term climate policy.
Last year’s 1.5 GW of new installations were in three countries – Germany (813 MW), the Netherlands (691 MW) and the UK (56 MW) – spread across seven wind farms. They represent 338 wind turbines with an average size of 4.8 MW, up from 4.2 MW in 2015.
Last year saw the first 8 MW turbines deployed in the UK.
Giles Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of WindEurope, said: “It’s good to see the high level of investments in offshore wind – up 40 per cent year on year. The new installations are in line with trend rate of the last five years after a spike in 2015. This was due to a backlog of grid connections.”
Dickson added: “We’ve installed on average one wind turbine every day in Europe for the last two years. With a strong pipeline of new projects on the way, we expect the numbers to rise quickly over the next four years.”