Clean Power

Published on December 7th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer


141 GW of European Offshore Wind Under Way

December 7th, 2011 by  

A new EWEA report tallying all existing offshore wind power projects in the 17 European Union states, based on a survey of built, consented and planned capacity and wind farm projects already undergoing construction, finds that Europe has a pipeline of a staggering 141,000 megawatts of offshore wind due on the grid over the next twenty years. With 4 GW installed by the end of 2011, Europe has 99% of offshore wind globally already.

Speaking at the EWEA Offshore 2011 conference and exhibition in Amsterdam, EWEA president Arthouros Zervos said: “There is a huge developer interest in offshore wind energy across Europe: Developers, governments and investors realise that offshore wind energy offers the growth and jobs that Europe desperately needs.”

Currently, 130 million houses are powered by the 4,000 megawatts of offshore wind already on the grid in Europe. (Because European houses are better insulated and more urban, they use less electricity than houses in the US). But even more encouragingly for the prospects of developing a low carbon future, the associated interests are enormous.

The supply chain for the offshore wind industry is evolving rapidly. The market promise underpinned by ambitious national programmes, particularly in the UK and Germany, has sparked an enormous volume of industrial interest as well as a significant amount of new investment in plant and facilities. This burst of activity should be set against the backdrop of a reces- sionary climate in other industries.

Growth areas within the wind industry include turbine manufacturing and turbine components, while development of substructures, vessels, plus electrical infrastructure, and high voltage subsea cabling all offer scope for expansion. High voltage cabling is a particular market where a capacity constraint has been identified and which needs to be issued urgently, the association says, while suitably trained personnel are also in demand.

As Durban climate talks at Durban got underway, Zervos had a message: “The offshore wind energy sector can replicate the success of the onshore wind technology development, which is now a mainstream source of power competitive with new coal and gas plants, and a major European industry,” he said, but he continued: “To ensure this happens, EU decision-makers need to set ambitious renewable energy targets beyond 2020, invest more in research and develop offshore grids.”

With so many projects in the pipeline, and so many interests now vested in its continuation – manufacturers, developers and suppliers – it seems very unlikely that Europe will abandon its Kyoto-driven ambitious carbon goals at this week’s climate talks at Durban. This ship is too big to turn around.

Developing a secure and stable long-term supply of electricity of off-shore wind power would put Europe so far out ahead of the rest of the world in energy security, why would they want to lose that advantage?

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: ,

About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

  • Coming in late, but love the discussion. It ain´t just the wind, friends. Closely observe Germany´s build out of waste incineration plants coupled with long distance-heat-hot water systems. Watch its sewage sludge bio gas generation system. Agrarian bio-gas is just getting started- and will be producing 44 GW by the end of 2025.

  • In Deutschland eine große Anzahl von Arbeitsplätzen im Bereich saubere Energie. Die Regierung hat sich aktiv an diesem Prozess beteiligt.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Google says that Vicki says –

      In Germany, a large number of jobs in the clean energy sector.The government has been actively involved in this process.

  • anne


    130 million is waaaay too much indeed. 4 GW of offshore wind will produce about 14 TWh annually. The average european household consumes about 3500 kWh per year. Divide the two and the result is 4 million homes.

    Btw I find the ‘homes’ metric a bit misleading as household consumption is only about a quarter of total electricity consumption. We also need to power our factories and offices and trains and trams and street lights etc.

    So if you assign a proportionate part of this ‘other’ consumption to each household, the 4 GW of offshore wind is enough to power 1 million households.

  • josetony

    I think there is a mistake on the report about the number of houses powered by the offshore wind. It says 130 million homes are powered by 4,000 megawatts of offshore wind. It will come out to 32,500 houses per megawatt which is way too high. A megawatt of power is good for 500-600 houses in the US. I know that houses in Europe use less electricity. I assume that maybe you put an extra zero by mistake and the reality could be 13 million homes that will translate to 3,250 homes per megawatt. This I think is more realistic.

  • Pingback: EU Considers Tightening Caps as Carbon Price Collapses()

  • Pingback: Why DOE-Funded Floating Turbines May Change Future of Offshore Wind()

  • Pingback: EU Invades US for Energy Resource – Offshore Wind | CleanTechnica()

Back to Top ↑