Europe's offshore wind energy industry completed a record number of installations last year, averaging one new wind turbine a day and is set for further rapid expansion after a 30% growth in 2012.
Across the continent, 293 giant new turbines were installed, bringing the total of grid-connected offshore wind turbines in Europe to 1,662, which operate across 55 separate wind farms.
The latest round of installations,totalling some 1.16GW of new capacity,was a 33% jump on 2012, and takes total installed offshore wind energy capacity across Europe to just short of 5GW.
The United Kingdom continues to dominate the offshore wind market with nearly 60 per cent of Europe's total capacity. Denmark with 18 per cent is in 2nd place followed by Belgium with eight per cent and Germany with six per cent.
Investment is expected to continue through the next 2 years, with 14 offshore wind farms already under construction.These will provide a further 3.3GW of potential capacity. Further expansion should continue throughout the second half of the decade as the United Kingdom's planned Round 3 deeper water offshore wind energy projects start to come to fruition
However, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) argues that the industry could be expanding even faster if governments throughout Europe, kept to their offshore wind energy targets and worked together more closely to providing a more stable policy environment.
For example, France,despite having high profile plans in place to build a fleet of new wind farms, are still yet to install a single offshore wind turbine, whilst grid connection issues in Germany have resulted in their timetable to install 792MW of capacity falling behind schedule.
"Offshore wind power is growing solidly", said EWEA policy director Justin Wilkes. "But solid installation figures do not alter the fact that the wind industry is being hit by political and regulatory instability, the economic crisis, the higher cost of capital and austerity.
"Europe is a world leader in offshore wind energy and could be creating even more jobs if governments gave greater policy certainty to investors, and resolved grid connection problems."
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