European offshore wind investment reaches $15.4b in 2016

European offshore wind investment reaches $15.4b in 2016

The European offshore wind industry has attracted a record US$18 billion in new investments during the first six months of 2016.

Seven projects totalling 3.7GW have reached final investment decision this year and the UK accounted for nearly three-quarters of the new investments.

The volume of new grid-connected installations in the first half of 2016 was 511MW, 78% down on the same period in 2015. This is anticipated to speed up next year toward 2020.

Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO said: “The record investment numbers show a clear industry commitment to offshore wind. We expect installations will pick up significantly in 2017 but there are a lot of challenges out there still on offshore wind. Not least the uncertainty over future volumes and regulation in many key markets for the period after 2020. We’re a long way from being able to say job done on offshore wind.”

Total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe is currently at 11,538MW across 82 windfarms in 11 countries. Germany (258MW) and the Netherlands (253MW) only just added new capacity in the first six months.

The average size of the 114 new turbines installed was 4.8MW, up from 4.2MW a year ago.

Energy ministers from 9 European countries signed a Memorandum (MoU) and Work Programme in June to advance their cooperation on offshore wind.

Dickson explained that the costs of offshore wind are currently falling, but healthy volumes are needed in the market to sustain this.

“The current pipeline of projects is not enough, and the commitments Member States have so far made for beyond 2020 fall well short of what’s needed.  This risks undermining Europe’s competitive position in offshore wind,” said Dickson.

“We’re number one today with over 90% of the world’s capacity, but the US and China are now moving to rapidly expand their offshore wind investments.”