European Offshore Wind Energy Continues to Grow by Leaps and Bounds

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) assessed the offshore wind capacity in Europe over the last six months. They found that at the end of the first half of 2012, the continent’s offshore wind capacity grew by at an astonishing rate from a year ago. A new report by the EWEA shows that there are 132 new offshore wind turbines, providing an additional 523 megawatts of power, and that these new turbines were fully connected to the power grid during the first half of 2012. Last year, Europe added only 348.1 megawatts from offshore wind during the same time period, making it an increase of about 50 percent.

These findings were printed in the EWEA’s “Key Trends and Statistics” report. Of the 132 new turbines, 103 were erected in five large wind farms since January. They also found that the average size of the wind turbines grew up to 4 megawatts, up 14 percent from last year.

The chief executive of the EWEA, Christian Kjaer, championed the news, stating that it is a triumph in the face of harsh economic times.

“Offshore wind power is increasingly attracting investors, including pension funds and other institutional and corporate investors,” Kjaer said in a statement. “But it would be good to see more activity in southern Europe where jobs, investments and growth are desperately needed.”

The country leading the way in the current offshore wind boom is the United Kingdom. From January to July, Britain added eight new wind farms. Both Germany and Denmark installed two new wind farms. Belgium also brought one wind farm online.

Total amount of offshore wind energy in Europe now stands at 4,336 megawatts as of June 30, 2012. That figure in June of 2011 was only 3,294 megawatts, which provided electricity to the equivalent of 4 million households.

There are an additional 13 wind farms under construction during the first half of 2012. When completed, these will add an extra 3,762 megawatts of capacity.

At a time when the United States is struggling to build just one offshore wind farm, Europe is plowing ahead at an accelerating rate. Amazingly, this has been occurring at a time of financial crisis in the Eurozone. It demonstrates the strong European commitment to phasing out fossil fuels and expanding renewable energy.

The EWEA Report can be viewed here.

Article by David A Gabel, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

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