Europe adds 2.6 GW offshore wind in 2018

Europe added 2.6 GW of offshore wind capacity during 2018. This is an 18% increase with 2017. Offshore wind now represents 2% of all the electricity consumed in Europe. This is the conclusion of the report, ‘Offshore Wind in Europe – Key trends and statistics 2018’ that was released by WindEurope this week. 

15 new offshore wind farms, with a total of 409 turbines, came on line. The UK and Germany accounted for 85% of the new capacity: 1.3 GW and 969 MW respectively.

Cumulative installations
Europe now has 105 offshore wind farms across 11 countries with a total capacity of 18.5 GW. This is around 10% of the total installed wind energy capacity in Europe – the rest is onshore. The Netherlands, with 1.118 MW by 365 turbines, is responsible for 6% of Europe’s cumulative installed capacity and takes in fifth place in Europe.

Rise in turbine size and scale
Other trends that are identified in the report is the continued rise of the size and scale of offshore wind. The average size of the new turbines installed last year was 6.8 MW, 15% up on 2017. The UK installed the world’s biggest offshore turbines – 8.8 MW – and opened the world’s largest offshore wind farm – Walney 3 extension, 657 MW. Belgium and Germany also opened their largest wind farms to date. A further six offshore wind farms are currently under construction in Europe, including the world’s first +1 GW offshore wind farm – Hornsea 1 in the UK.

Growth in investment
Then a further 12 new offshore wind projects reached Final Investment Decision in 2018. These represent a further 4.2 GW of capacity and €10.3bn of investment. The amount invested was 37% up on 2017 but the capacity covered was up 91% – showing how quickly costs are falling.

Point of attention
In their press release, WindEurope’s CEO Giles Dickson indicates that some countries are underperforming and risk missing out. “More and more governments are recognising the merits of offshore wind. Poland is the latest to embrace it with an ambitious plan to build 10 GW by 2040. But a few countries are underperforming on it and risk missing out. Sweden is not building any offshore wind despite great potential. Germany has only a modest target for 2030. And the ‘gamma minus’ performer is France which still has no offshore wind farms nor is it clear when they will have. These countries have a chance to put things right this year with their National Energy and Climate Plans – they should grab it with two hands.”

Source: WindEurope  Illustration: Projects connected to the grid per country in 2018 (MW)