Trend report: ‘2017, a new record for offshore wind’
Offshore wind energy in Europe reached a record in 2017: no less than 3.1 gigawatts of new capacity came online. This is twice as much than in 2016 and 4 percent higher than in 2015 (previous record year). Wind Europe reports this in the trend report 'Offshore wind in Europe: Key trends and statistics 2017'.
The total offshore wind power capacity in Europe grew in 2017 with 25 percent towards 15.8 gigawatts. The United Kingdom and Germany can be accounted for the main growth of the new offshore wind energy, with 1.7 and 1.3 gigawatts respectively.
Other milestones were the completion of the first floating wind farm in the world off the coast of Scotland and the installation of the first offshore windmill off the French coast. France has big plans in the field of wind energy. In the coming years, the French wind power capacity must double.
No new projects were realized in the Netherlands in 2017. However the Netherlands does have a number of large offshore wind parks planned, such as Borssele, Hollandse Kust Zuid and Hollandse Kust Noord.
"A growth of 25 percent in one year is spectacular and good news for the industry," says Joël Meggelaars. head of advocacy & messaging at Wind Europe. "Offshore wind is becoming a mainstream part of our energy system. The costs continue to fall. And the growing offshore wind farms are delivering more and more electricity. The capacity per turbine and capacity factor also grows steadily. This makes a European sustainable energy target of 35 percent in 2030 easily achievable. "
In 2017 fewer investment decisions were taken for new wind farms than in 2016. In 2017, the industry had a total investment of € 7.5 billion, compared with over € 18 billion in 2016. According to Wind Europe, this is partly because the prices of wind energy are decreasing, but on the other hand because in 2016 investors still received traditional feed-in tariffs for the commissioning of sustainable energy projects. "The transition to auctions has slowed down new investments. After winning an auction, we normally wait about two years to confirm the investment ", says Wind Europe.
Offshore wind industry
According to Meggelaars, the growth of the industry nevertheless continues in 2018 and 2019. "With the current developement of projects, there should be around 25 gigawatts of offshore wind in Europe in 2020."
How the market develops after 2020 is still unclear. Only a few countries have plans in the field of offshore wind energy up to and including 2030. "This makes it difficult for the industry to invest in new facilities, in hiring and training employees and in research and innovation. Visibility on the volumes that will be installed are needed to grow in this European sector", concludes Meggelaars.
Source: Duurzaam bedrijfsleven