Europe installed a total of 1.5 gigawatts of new offshore wind capacity in 2016 according to new report from the region’s wind energy trade body, bringing the cumulative total up past 16 gigawatts (GW).
The new figures were published by industry group WindEurope this week, revealing that a total of 1,558 megawatts (MW) of new offshore wind was connected to the grid in 2016, down 48% from 2015 figures. This worked out to be an addition of 338 new offshore wind turbines spread across six separate wind farms.
Subsequently, Europe’s cumulative offshore wind capacity now sits at 12,631 MW with 3,589 wind turbines spread out over 10 countries.
Cumulative and annual offshore wind installations 2000-2016
While capacity additions in 2016 might have been down, the European offshore wind industry announced a record €18.2 billion worth of investments (Final Investment Decisions) throughout 2016 to be constructed over the next few years, which represents a future 4,948 MW of new capacity, with over half of that to be installed in the UK (though how the Brexit will begin to impact “European” numbers is yet to be seen).
“It’s good to see the high level of investments in offshore wind — up 40% year on year,” said Giles Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of WindEurope. “The new installations are in line with trend rate of the last 5 years after a spike in 2015. This was due to a backlog of grid connections.”
More specifically, the 1.5 GW worth of new capacity installed in 2016 was spread out as follows:
- 813 MW in Germany
- 691 MW in the Netherlands
- 56 MW in the UK
“We’ve installed on average one wind turbine every day in Europe for the last two years,” Dickson continued.
“With a strong pipeline of new projects on the way, we expect the numbers to rise quickly over the next 4 years. We should see over 3GW of new installations in 2017. And we’re set to reach 25GW total capacity by 2020 – double today’s level.
“Beyond that there’s a question mark. Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have signalled further build-out of offshore wind to 2030, but other countries haven’t yet. Now is the time for them to do so, as they start writing their Energy and Climate Change Action Plans as part of the EU Energy Union.
“The bottom line is Europe needs to keep up the strong growth of offshore wind to deliver the energy transition. And it’s increasingly affordable: the winning prices in the last four tenders show offshore wind is now competitive with all other forms of power generation.”