The Netherlands in fifth place in offshore wind capacity in Europe in 2019

Today, WindEurope, the European wind association, released its annual offshore wind report. According to the report, Europe installed a record amount of 3.6 GW of new offshore wind capacity in 2019, bringing the cumulative capacity to 22 GW. The Netherlands is in fifth place in cumulative capacity although it did not connect any new turbines in 2019. 

Ten new offshore wind farms came online in 2019, across 5 countries with the UK contributing 1.7 GW (252 wind turbines), Germany 1.1 GW (160 turbines), Denmark 374 MW (45 turbines) and Belgium 370 M (44 turbines). Portugal installed 8 MW of floating offshore wind.

The average size of the offshore turbines installed last year was 7.8 MW. A 12 MW offshore wind turbine was installed in Rotterdam. Offshore wind farms are also getting bigger. The average size doubled – it was 300 MW in 2010. Now it is over 600 MW. The largest is Hornsea 1 in the UK – 1.2 GW. The launch of the new Portuguese floating project – WindFloat Atlantic, funded by the EU’s NER300 programme, means Europe now has 45 MW of floating offshore wind.

Offshore wind costs continue to fall significantly. Last year’s auctions – in the UK, France and the Netherlands – delivered prices for consumers in the range of €40-50/MWh. WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “Europe really embraced offshore wind in 2019. Auction prices showed it’s now cheaper to build offshore wind than new gas or coal plants.” 2019 also saw investment decisions in 4 new offshore wind farms, representing 1.4 GW in capacity and €6bn in investments.

Europe has now an accumulative capacity of 22 GW in offshore wind. UK and Germany account for three-quarters of it. Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands share nearly all of the rest. Dickson: “Several Governments raised the amount they want to build. This time last year we were looking at 76 GW by 2030. Now it’s 100 GW.”

However, according to the European Commission, Europe needs between 230 and 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050 to decarbonise the energy system and deliver the Green Deal. 7 GW new offshore wind every year by 2030 and 18 GW onwards by 2050. The Netherlands will be contributing with around 10 GW up to 2030 (current capacity is 1.1 GW).

Dickson: “The bigger numbers are doable and affordable. The new EU Offshore Wind Strategy in the Green Deal should map out clearly how to mobilise the investments needed for 450 GW. Crucially it should provide a masterplan (a) to develop the offshore and onshore grid connections and (b) to get the maritime spatial planning right. This will require ever closer cooperation between Governments in the North Sea and the Baltic. And this should also include the UK – they were half of Europe’s investment in offshore wind in the last decade and will remain by far the biggest market.” Source: WindEurope