UK is world leader in offshore wind energy production and research
Latest offshore wind statistics released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) confirm that the UK is the European and world leader in the sector, with 1,341MW installed.
The UK is followed by Denmark (854MW), the Netherlands (249MW), Belgium (195MW) and Sweden (164MW). Germany, Ireland, Finland and Norway have a further 145MW between them.
RenewableUK, the renewable-energy trade association, hailed the results as more evidence that the offshore wind sector is on track to deliver significant economic benefits, as well as renewable electricity to consumers.
Peter Madigan, RenewableUK head of Offshore Renewables, said: ’The UK’s offshore wind roll out is continuing at full speed. Last week the first turbines at Walney and Greater Gabbard started delivering electricity to the grid. Once completed, these two offshore wind farms will take the UK over the 2GW mark.’
The EWEA report states that there are now a total of 1,136 offshore wind turbines in the UK.
The report also points out that European installations of offshore wind power may surge 70% this year, topping 2010’s record 51% gain. This year is likely to have 1 Gigawatt to 1.5 Gigawatts of sea-based windmills connected to region’s electricity grid, after 883 megawatts of capacity was installed in 2010, said the Brussels-based lobby.
As more countries appeal to offshore wind power to help meet their renewable energy targets, more banks are coming to the market to help finance the capital intensive projects.
“Finance remains a big challenge, but we are seeing improvements with more banks and other financing institutions ready to invest in large offshore wind projects” EWEA Chief Executive Christian Kjaer said. “The 29 new offshore turbine models announced during 2010 show a growing commitment to the sector by large global industrial players.”
Total installed capacity, at 2.9 Gigawatts, is now enough to power 2.9 million homes, according to the study. Kjaer said that Britain is not only ahead in the sheer scale of installed offshore wind power, but it is also increasingly successful in attracting research, development, and manufacturing, from major industry players”.
Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica SA, Spain’s largest turbine maker, plans to invest 200 million US dollars by 2014 in the UK to set up a research centre and turbine blade factory as well as a global headquarters for its offshore wind business. General Electric and Siemens AG have also proposed factories in Britain.