Total offshore wind capacity in Europe stands at 12.631 MW

 2016 saw a high level of investments in offshore wind and a strong pipeline of new projects. (Photo: WindEurope)
2016 saw a high level of investments in offshore wind and a strong pipeline of new projects. (Photo: WindEurope)

WindEurope released its report on the European offshore wind key trends and statistics for 2016. Offshore wind investments in 2016 reached a record € 18.2 billion with 4.9 GW of new capacity financed. Germany, the Netherlands and the UK were the only countries to install in 2016 and the first 8 MW turbine went into the water at Burbo Bank Extension wind farm.

The WindEurope report summarises the construction and financing activity in European offshore wind farms from 1 January to 31 December 2016. WindEurope regularly surveys the industry to determine the level of installations of foundations and turbines, and the subsequent dispatch of first power to the grid. The data includes demonstration sites and factors in decommissioning where it has occurred, representing net installations per site and country unless otherwise stated.

Key highlights of the report

Offshore wind in Europe saw a net 1,558 MW of additional installed grid-connected capacity in 2016. This was a 48% decline on 2015. A net addition of 338 new offshore wind turbines across six wind farms was grid-connected from 1 January to 31 December 2016.

Europe now has a total installed capacity of 12,631 MW from 3,589 grid-connected wind turbines in 10 countries. Germany (813 MW), the Netherlands (691 MW) and the UK (56 MW) were the only countries to install in 2016. Portugal decommissioned its 2 MW WindFloat project. Including sites with partial grid-connected turbines, there are 81 offshore wind farms in 10 European countries.

Offshore wind investments in 2016 reached a record €18.2 billion with 4.9 GW of new capacity financed – a 40% increase on 2015 numbers. The UK led the way, attracting almost €10.5 billion, followed by Germany (€4.3bn), Belgium (€2.3bn), Denmark (€1bn) and Finland (€120 million).

The average turbine size increased from 4.2 MW a year earlier to 4.8 MW as the first 8 MW machines went into the water at the Burbo Bank Extension in the UK. The average size of a grid-connected offshore wind farm in 2016 was 380 MW, 12% more than the in the previous year. 81% of substructures are monopiles, 7.5% are gravity foundations, jackets account for 6.6%, tripods for 3.2% and tripiles for 1.9%.

Market shares

Siemens Wind Power is the leading offshore wind turbine supplier in Europe with 67.8% of total installed capacity, followed by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind (16.4%), Senvion (6.2%), Adwen (5.2%), and BARD (3.2%). DONG Energy maintains its position as the biggest owner of offshore wind power in Europe with 16.2% of cumulative installations at the end of 2016, a slight increase from last year. Vattenfall returns as the second largest owner with 8.6% of installed capacity owned, followed by E.ON (8.3%), Innogy8 (7.8%), and Stadtwerke München (4.2%). The top five owners represent 45.1% of all installed capacity in Europe.

Once completed, the 11 offshore projects under construction will increase total installed grid-connected capacity by a further 4.8 GW, bringing the cumulative capacity in Europe to 17.4 GW. By 2020, offshore wind is projected to grow to a total installed capacity of 24.6 GW.

Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, commented the findings: “It's good to see the high level of investments in offshore wind – up 40% year on year. The new installations are in line with trend rate of the last 5 years after a spike in 2015 due to a backlog of grid connections. We've installed on average one wind turbine every day in Europe for the last two years. With a strong pipeline of new projects on the way, we expect the numbers to rise quickly over the next 4 years. We should see over 3 GW of new installations in 2017. We're set to reach 25 GW total capacity by 2020 – double today's level.” And he added: “Beyond that there's a question mark. Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have signaled further build-out of offshore wind to 2030, but other countries haven't yet. Now is the time for them to do so, as they start writing their Energy and Climate Change Action Plans as part of the EU Energy Union.”

You can download the report at:

Silke Funke / WindEurope

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