A total of 235 wind turbines, with an aggregate generating capacity of 866MW (megawatts) and costing £2billion (2.4billion euros), were installed and fully grid connected in offshore European waters last year.
This compares with 883MW of capacity installed in 2010and 584MW in 2009. However, the European Wind Energy Association expects a dramatic leap forward this year following some easing of access to money during the prior 12 months.
The majority (87%) of all newly installed and grid connected offshore wind power in 2011 was in British waters. Siemens supplied 80% of the MW installed offshore last year while SSE and RWE Innogy were the most active developers and DONG Energy continued to be the most active equity player in offshore wind power.
Nine offshore wind farms currently under construction will bring online an additional 2,375MW – increasing the EU’s total installed offshore wind power capacity by 62%, according to the EWEA.
Across the EU, a total of 1,371 offshore turbines have now been grid connected, with a total power capacity of 3,813MW in 53 wind farms in 10 European countries.
EWEA’s target for installed EU offshore wind power capacity by 2020 is 40,000MW, producing approximately 4% of the EU’s total electricity consumption. This equates to 8,000 5MW turbines of the size installed in Scotland’s Beatrice demonstrator.
“The offshore wind sector witnessed a stable market in 2011”, said Justin Wilkes, policy director of EWEA.
Disclosing the latest figures he said: “Despite the economy-wide financial squeeze, 2011 saw a 40% increase on the previous year in offshore “non-recourse” debt financing, up from £1.2billion (1.46billion euros) in 2010 to £1.7billion (2.05billion) euros last year.
Non-recourse debt financing describes a loan where the lender has the right to be repaid only from profits and assets of the project funded by the loan. The lender is not entitled to be repaid from other assets.