EWEA report shows European offshore wind industry headed for a record year

By Dorothy Davis

Based on an analysis released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) the European offshore wind industry is thriving for 2010 even in the midst of a turbulent financial environment.

According to statistics provided in the EWEA release, The European offshore wind industry –Key trends and statistics: 1st half 2010, 118 new offshore wind turbines have been fully grid connected for a total increased capacity of 333 megawatts so far. What stands out about those numbers is the fact that just in the first six months of 2010 the combined capacity of these newly connected projects accounts for more than half of the 577 megawatts generated for the entirety of 2009.

"There is no doubt this burgeoning industry is being held back by a lack of finance. Projects led by utilities are less affected thanks to their ability to fund investments from their balance sheets but independent developers are severely constrained. Loans from public institutions such as the European Investment Bank are crucial and have already helped a number of projects, and this support must be extended further." commented Justin Wilkes, Director of Policy at EWEA. 

Further, the EWEA report reveals that in addition to the impressive showing of grid connected wind projects there are still an additional 151 turbines totaling 440 megawatts installed and pending connection. When taken as a whole that brings the overall totals for Europe as of June 30, 2010 to 948 offshore wind turbines in 43 fully operational offshore wind farms, with a total capacity of 2,396MW. The first half of 2010 boasted 16 offshore wind farms which will increase the total offshore wind capacity to 3,972 MW in Europe once completed. 

When considering the industry amongst developers E.ON Climate and Renewables led the way with 64% of the grid connected offshore capacity during the first half of 2010, followed by Dong at 21% and Vattenfal at 11%. Among manufacturers Siemens accounted for 55% of the offshore grid connected capacity during the same period, followed by Vestas at 36% and finally REpower at 9%. 

"Despite the financial crisis offshore wind continues to be a major growth industry" added Justin Wilkes. "The number of offshore wind turbines connected to the grid is in the first half of this year is well over half the total amount installed all last year and I am confident we are heading for a record year." 

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