The pace of growth in Europe’s offshore wind sector is slowing and stabilising, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The organisation is calling for stable, long-term policy to help the sector progress.
In a report, the EWEA states the European offshore wind industry saw new capacity installation decline by 84 megawatts (MW) in 2014, following a record year in 2013. Last year, 408 new offshore turbines were fully connected to the European system, adding 1,483 MW. The UK counted for over half of new installations, with Germany in second, making up 35.7%. Whilst the UK has dominated European installations over the last three years, Germany is expected to take the top spot in 2015.
The total installed capacity for Europe now stands at 8,045 MW in 74 offshore wind farms across 11 countries.
Justin Wilkes, deputy chief executive of EWEA, said, “It is not surprising that we see a levelling-off of installations in 2014 following a record year in 2014. The industry has seen exponential growth in the early part of this decade and this is a natural stabilising of that progress. Offshore wind will have a monumental part to play in the EU’s energy security drive as part of the European Energy Union but it is political determination that will help Europe unlock its offshore potential.”
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Looking ahead to this year the organisation states that the market outlook “remain stable” in terms of capacity bought online, with 12 projects currently under construction. However, 2016 is predicted to “see a slump in the market, featuring a low level of wind turbines being connected”, with the UK unlikely to fully commission any hundred-MW scale offshore wind farms, and only Germany and the Netherlands are expected to bring capacity outside the UK in Europe.
Wilkes added, “The technology and financing are there but we need policymakers to come forward with stable long-term plans to push the growth of this industry and to avoid stop-go and inconsistent policy frameworks for offshore wind.”
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