“This is an incredibly good result considering the continued difficulties of obtaining project finance for large projects”, said Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive. “Independent project developers, in particular, are still struggling. For the offshore wind power industry to continue its development, it is vital that governments and the European Commission provide policy frameworks that stimulate investor interest and allow project developers to move their plans forward.”
Europe is the world leader in offshore wind farm with 828 wind turbines and a cumulative capacity of 2,056 MW spread across 38 offshore wind farms in nine European countries. The UK and Denmark are the current leaders, with a 44% and 30% share respectively.
In 2009, five countries built new offshore wind farms: UK (284 MW), Denmark (230 MW), Sweden (30 MW), Germany (30 MW), Norway (2.3 MW).
In early January, another big step forward was taken in the UK, when the government gave its green light for offshore wind farm development areas with a capacity of 32 GW, fifteen times greater than Europe’s existing European offshore wind energy capacity.
More information can be found on www.ewea.org by clicking on the ‘Statistics’ tab. Getting the economy back on its feet In 2009, investment in offshore wind farms was approximately €1.5 billion, and EWEA expects this to double in 2010 to approximately €3 billion.
“The push given by the decision to inject €255 million under the European Union’s European Economic Recovery Plan into the offshore wind sector showed that decision makers understand that offshore wind is key to Europe’s future energy supplies. The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) increased involvement will also be instrumental for the future success of offshore wind’s contribution to European recovery, job creation and technology leadership,” concluded EWEA’s CEO.
The future looks bright
For 2010, EWEA expects the completion of 10 additional European offshore wind farms, adding 1,000 MW and equivalent to market growth of 75% compared to 2009.
Currently, 17 offshore wind farms are under construction in Europe, totaling more than 3,500 MW, with just under half being constructed in UK waters. In addition, a further 52 offshore wind farms have won full consent in European waters, totaling more than 16,000 MW, with just over half of this capacity planned in Germany.
In fact, more than 100 GW of projects are at currently at various stages of planning and could provide enough power to meet 10% of European electricity demand.
By Sarah Azau, Editor, Wind Directions, www.ewea.org