Offshore wind installations stabilise in 2014

Friday, 30 January, 2015 - 12:00
Cumulative and annual offshore wind installations [MW] (Source: EWEA)
Cumulative and annual offshore wind installations [MW] (Source: EWEA)

In 2014, 408 new offshore turbines were fully grid connected, adding 1,483 MW to the European system – 84 MW less than in 2013. The total installed capacity for Europe now stands at 8,045 MW in 74 offshore wind farms in 11 European countries.

According to the report “The European offshore wind industry - key trends and statistics 2014” published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), 408 new offshore wind turbines in nine wind farms and one demonstration project were fully grid connected between 1 January and 31 December 2014. The new capacity totals 1,483.3 MW – 5.34 % less than in 2013. 536 turbines were installed during 2014, an average of 5.9 MW per day. 373 of these turbines are still awaiting grid connection. On 12 projects work is on-going.

Justin Wilkes, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of EWEA, says: "It is not surprising that we see a levelling-off of installations in 2014 following a record year in 2013. The industry has seen exponential growth in the early part of this decade and this is a natural stabilising of that progress." He adds: "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."

In 2014, the UK accounted for over half of all new installations (54.8 %) with Germany in second (35.7 %) and Belgium (9.5 %) making up the rest. For 2015, Germany is expected to install more offshore capacity than the UK, which has dominated installations in Europe for the past three years. Wilkes says: "Germany is set to buck the trend this year. The UK has more installed offshore capacity than the rest of the world combined but this year shows that other countries in the EU are making serious investments in the sector. The nine financial deals closed in 2014, of which 4 were "billion-Euro" projects, suggest that activity will pick up substantially as of 2017 as these projects begin to hit the water." Once completed, the 12 European offshore projects currently under construction will increase installed capacity by a further 2.9 GW, bringing the cumulative capacity in Europe to 10.9 GW.

Looking on the technology, 78.8 % of substructures are monopiles, 10.4 % are gravity foundations, jackets account for 4.7 %, tripods account for 4.1 %, and tripiles account for 1.9 %. Furthermore, there are also two full-scale grid-connected floating turbines swimming in European waters. The average offshore wind turbine size was 3.7 MW, slightly less than in 2013 due to the increased proportion of installation of the Siemens 3.6 MW wind turbines. The average water depth of wind farms completed, or partially completed, in 2014 was 22.4 m and the average distance to shore was 32.9 km.

Katharina Garus

Wind turbine manufacturers' share of 2014 annual installations in terms of units connected (Source: EWEA)

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