Brussels, Belgium [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] A total of 199 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 577 MW were installed at eight new offshore wind farms and connected to the European grid during 2009.
The development represents a growth rate of 54% compared to the 373 MW completed during 2008 while for 2010, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) expects the completion of 10 additional European offshore wind farms, adding 1000 MW and equivalent to market growth of 75% compared with 2009.
According to the trade group there are currently 17 offshore wind farms under construction in Europe, totaling more than 3500 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 16000 MW, with just over half of this capacity planned in Germany.
More than 100 GW of projects are at various stages of planning and could provide enough power to meet 10% of European electricity demand.
In 2009, the turnover of the offshore wind industry was approximately €1.5 billion, and EWEA expects this to double in 2010 to approximately €3 billion.
“This is an incredibly good result considering the continued difficulties of obtaining project finance for large projects”, said Christian Kjaer, EWEA chief executive.
Kjaer also commented: “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.” He added: “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.”