European Offshore Wind Capacity Jumped in 2018

Walney 3 Extension
Walney 3 Extension

Published Feb 6, 2019 6:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

Europe installed 2.6 GW of new offshore wind energy capacity in 2018, according to statistics released by WindEurope. That’s an 18 percent increase in Europe’s offshore wind capacity.

15 new offshore wind farms came on line. The U.K. and Germany accounted for 85 percent of the new capacity: 1.3GW and 969MW respectively. Europe now has 105 offshore wind farms across 11 countries with a total capacity of 18.5GW. This is around 10 percent of the total installed wind energy capacity in Europe - the rest is onshore.

The size and scale of offshore wind continues to rise. The average size of the new turbines installed last year was 6.8MW, 15 percent up on 2017. The U.K. installed the world’s biggest offshore turbines - 8.8MW and opened the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Walney 3 extension, 657MW. 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 over 1GW offshore wind farm - Hornsea 1 in the U.K.

Then a further 12 new offshore wind projects reached Final Investment Decision in 2018. These represent a further 4.2GW of capacity and €10.3 billion ($11.7 billion) of investment. The amount invested was 37 percent up on 2017 but the capacity covered was up 91 percent, demonstration how quickly costs are falling.

Offshore wind now represents two percent of all the electricity consumed in Europe, and more governments are recognizing the merits of offshore wind. Poland is the latest to embrace it with a plan to build 10GW by 2040. However, Sweden is not building any offshore wind despite great potential, France has no offshore wind farms and Germany has only a modest target for 2030.