Offshore Wind Heads for Record Year in Europe

118 new offshore wind turbines were fully connected to the grid in the first half of 2010 according to new statistics released by European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Those 118 turbines have a capacity of 333 MW – well over half the 577MW installed offshore last year – showing continuing strong growth in offshore wind power despite the financial crisis. In addition, 151 turbines (440 MW) were installed but not yet connected to grid.

Overall 16 offshore wind farms totaling 3,972 MW were under construction. Of these, four became fully operational: Poseidon in Denmark, Alpha Ventus in Germany, Gunfleet Sands and Robin Rigg in the UK.

To date in Europe there are 948 offshore wind turbines in 43 fully operational offshore wind farms, with a total capacity of 2396MW.

Among the developers E.ON Climate and Renewables developed 64% of the offshore capacity grid connected during the first half of 2010, followed by Dong (21%) and Vattenfal (11%). Among the manufacturers Siemens accounted for 55% of the offshore capacity grid connected during the first half of 2010, Vestas 36% and REpower 9%.

“Despite the financial crisis offshore wind continues to be a major growth industry,” says Justin Wilkes, director of policy at EWEA. “The number of offshore wind turbines connected to the grid is in the first half of this year is well over half the total amount installed all last year and I am confident we are heading for a record year.”

He continues: “There is no doubt this burgeoning industry is being held back by a lack of finance. Projects led by utilities are less affected thanks to their ability to fund investments from their balance sheets but independent developers are severely constrained. Loans from public institutions such as the European Investment Bank are crucial and have already helped a number of projects, and this support must be extended further.”

EWEA is the voice of the wind industry, actively promoting the utilisation of wind power in Europe and worldwide. It now has over 650 members from almost 60 countries including manufacturers with a 90% share of the world wind power market, plus component suppliers, research institutes, national wind and renewables associations, developers, electricity providers, finance and insurance companies and consultants.

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