|The world largest offshore wind farm, the UK’s London Array.|
By Anders Lorenzen
Findings in a report recently released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) shows optimistic outlooks for the European offshore wind sector.
In 2012, 293 new offshore wind turbines spread across 9 windfarms were fully grid connected accounting for 1.116 MW and tabling an investment between 3.4 – 4.6 bn euros an increase of 33% compared to 2011. In terms of actual turbines erected the number is a full 369 which means on average more than one turbine was erected a day and of those 76 still needs grid connecting.
2013 is also set for further extensive growth in the offshore wind sector. 14 projects are currently under construction and once completed it will take Europe’s tally up to 8.3 GW, an increase of 3.3 GW.
The majority of this growth is in the worlds leading offshore market; the United Kingdom with 73% of the share and a huge gap in numbers to Belgium, who is at only 16%, followed by Germany at 7% and Denmark at 4%.
In terms of total installed capacity UK are also leading, though not as strongly with 58.9% and Denmark in second place at 18.4%, a big drop to Belgium with a third at only 7.6%, then Germany with 5.6%, The Netherlands 4.9%, Sweden 3.3%, Finland 0.6%, and the installations of Ireland, Norway and Portugal too small to be noted in percentages. Out of this, it is important to state offshore wind is still a very young industry but it is significant that a small country like Denmark are dominating so heavily against their large, fellow Scandinavian countries with large coastal lines in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and that France for all their high ambitions are nowhere to be seen. There is definitely huge potential for further growth in the coming years, but no doubt that with the ambition the UK are showing, they will continue to lead in offshore wind for years.
But despite that, the biggest developer is not British. Denmark’s Dong Energy is at 19% followed by Norway’s Statoil and Statkraft both at 12%.
Despite this growth, countries are lagging slightly behind the targets set between EU member states, which should have reached 5.8 GW during 2012, but it only just reached 5 GW. The real loser and country that is bringing down the average, is France, who had a target of 667 MW but have not managed any installations at all, and Germany with a target of 792 MW only managed to install 280 MW.
A battle seemed to have been played out amongst installers too, between the two powerhouses Vestas and Siemens, with the German giant beating Denmark, the world leader, who are losing out with 32% of installations with 57% to Siemens.
Subedited by Charlotte Paton