UK accounts for over half of new offshore wind power capacity built in Europe in 2017
The UK accounted for over half of the new offshore wind power capacity built in Europe last year, as the sector broke installation records across the continent.
The North Sea wind farms and in other shallow European waters are increasing in size and according to commentators, the turbines will almost be as large as the Shard, Europe’s tallest building, according to experts.
The average capacity of the 500-plus turbines connected to the grid increased over a fifth on the year before, with 17 wind farms on average a third more powerful.
In total the UK installed 53 per cent of the net 3.15GW of capacity installed across Europe, beating the previous record of 2015, according to industry body WindEurope.
France deployed its first offshore turbine, a single, floating one while oil firm Statoil of Norway deployed the world’s first floating windfarm in Scotland. The first windfarm designed to work under icy conditions was built in Finland.
According to Giles Dickson, WindEurope’s chief executive, last year’s 25 per cent increase in volume was ”pretty spectacular”.
He added that costs continue to fall in the near future with manufacturers and windfarm developers deploying ever-bigger turbines.
According to industry experts, though developers are currently opting for 8MW-9MW turbines, by 2023 and 2024 it would have climbed to 13 MW-15 MW.
Meanwhile, Europe’s wind-power industry expects new French offshore turbine installations to overtake the UK and Germany by 2022, helping president Emmanuel Macron deliver on his pledge to increase renewable energy.
Construction off the French coast is expected to increase from 2020 turning the country in the fourth-biggest offshore wind generator with about 4.3 Gw capacity by 2030, according to the Brussels-based WindEurope industry group.
Macron has pledged to turn France into a green energy leader and cut the country’s reliance on nuclear power. He is trying to accelerate the development of delayed offshore wind projects tendered in 2012.