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Offshore Wind Market in Europe Reached New Record Level in 2019 - Expansion Targets Nevertheless Cannot be Achieved

Brussels, Belgium - Europe installed 3,600 megawatts (MW) (3.6 gigawatts - GW) of new offshore wind capacity in 2019. This is a new record in annual installations. 10 new offshore wind farms came online across 5 countries.

The UK accounted for nearly half of the new capacity with 1,700 MW. Then came Germany (1,100 MW), Denmark (374 MW) and Belgium (370 MW). Furthermore Portugal installed 8 MW of floating offshore wind. Europe now has about 22,000 MW of offshore wind energy capacity. The UK and Germany account for three-quarters of it. Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands share nearly all of the rest. These are the main results of the 2019 offshore statistics published now by WindEurope.

The launch of the new Portuguese floating project - WindFloat Atlantic, funded by the EU’s NER300 programme, means Europe now has 45 MW of floating offshore wind. France, the UK, Norway and Portugal are all developing new floating projects. France plans to auction a large-scale floating wind farm in 2021.

Offshore wind costs continue to fall significantly. Last year’s auctions – in the UK, France and the Netherlands – delivered prices for consumers in the range of €40-50/MWh. This is cheaper than building new gas, coal or nuclear.

The European Commission says, Europe needs between 230 and 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050 to decarbonise the energy system and deliver the Green Deal. This requires Europe to build 7,000 MW of new offshore wind a year by 2030 and ramp up to 18,000 MW a year by 2050. But the current level of new installations and investments is a long way behind that, WindEurope emphasizes.

“Europe really embraced offshore wind in 2019. Auction prices showed it’s now cheaper to build offshore wind than new gas or coal plants. Several Governments raised the amount they want to build. This time last year we were looking at 76 GW by 2030. Now it’s 100 GW”, says WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

“But we’re not currently building enough to deliver on that, let alone the more ambitious volumes needed to deliver the Green Deal. The EU Commission says we need up to 450 GW of offshore by 2050. That means 7 GW new offshore wind every year by 2030 and 18 GW by 2050. Last year we built a record amount, but only 3 GW. The bigger numbers are doable and affordable. The new EU Offshore Wind Strategy in the Green Deal should map out clearly how to mobilise the investments needed for 450 GW. Crucially it should provide a masterplan (a) to develop the offshore and onshore grid connections and (b) to get the maritime spatial planning right”, Dickson added.

Source: IWR Online, Feb 02 2020