Europe’s offshore wind capacity grew by 18 percent last year

offshore wind

Europe installed a total of 2.6 gigawatts of new offshore wind capacity in 2018, up by 18 percent. With this rise, the region’s overall capacity stands at 18.5 GW, according to figures published by the region’s commercial wind power association WindEurope.

On Thursday, WindEurope published its Offshore Wind Europe report. The document disclosed that a total of 15 new offshore wind farms were commissioned in 2018. The United Kingdom and Germany account for 85 percent of the new capacity added last year, with 1.3 GW and 969 MW, respectively.

Capacity increased by 18 percent in 2018 and the region now has 105 offshore wind farms distributed across eleven countries, for a total capacity of 15.8 GW.

United Kingdom, Germany, and Belgium

With 1,312 MW, the UK accounted for 49 percent of Europe’s gross capacity put into operation in 2018. Six of the seven wind farms that were connected to the grid were put into operation. The Seventh (Beatrice 2), began the process of connecting the turbines to the grid.

The Walney 3 Extension was completed in October 2018, becoming the world’s largest operational offshore windfarm. It has 87 turbines and a capacity of 657 MW. A floating turbine, the Kincare Pilot, was connected off the Scottish coast.

For its part, with 969 MW in its three windfarms, Germany accounted for 36 percent of Europe’s gross marine wind capacity put into operation in 2018. One of them, Bojum Riffgrund II (465 MW) was completely linked to the grid. Thanks to this, it became the nation’s largest windfarm thus far.

Similarly, Belgium, with 309 MW connected to the grid from the fully completed Rentel windfarm, accounted for 12 percent European gross capacity brought online in 2018.

New projects in Denmark, Spain, France, and Sweden

Denmark connected 61 MW from Horns Rev 3, which should be completed by 2019, with a total capacity of 407 MW.

Spain saw the connection of its second offshore wind turbine off the coast of Gran Canaria. This interesting project, realized under the EU-funded ELICAN project, has a self-installing telescopic substructure for low-cost craneless installations, allowing for deep offshore projects.

For its part, France saw the grid connection of two floating offshore wind turbines. The Floatgen project (2 MW) off the coast of Brittany, and the Eolink 1/10 project, which connected a prototype turbine of about 200 kW in Brittany.

Sweden did not install any new offshore wind farms. However, 5 turbine rotors (including the blades) in the Bockstigen wind farm were boosted, increasing the rated power of each turbine from 550 to 660 kW. The Utgrunden I wind farm decommissioned 7 turbines, totaling 10.5 MW.

Growth of the region's offshore wind capacity

Offshore wind capacity has continued to grow in size and scale. The average size of a turbine installed in 2018 rose to 6.8 MW, up by 15 percent from the previous year. Furthermore, it is expected to continue to increase over the coming years as new turbine designs are announced and made available to the market.

The largest turbine in the world was installed in the United Kingdom in 2018. Two V164-8.8 MW were connected at the European Offshore Wind Development Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen, Scotland. The nation also opened the world’s largest offshore wind farm, an honor that corresponds to the 659 MW Walney Extension, off the Cumbrian coast.

Nonetheless, the Walney Extension will not be the largest wind project for long. Other 6 facilities are under construction in Europe, including the 1.2 GW Hornsea Project One, off the coast of Yorkshire, England.

Separately, twelve new offshore wind projects reached Final Decision Investment (FID) in 2018. Investments in new assets amounted to €10.3bn. This financed 4.2 GW of additional capacity, which will come online in the next couple of years.

Therefore, the investment in new offshore wind also increased in 2018, growing by 37 percent from 2017, but generating an 86 percent increase in capacity financed.

For more information, check Energía16

See also: Endesa moving forward with energy transition with three new wind farms in Teruel

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