Europe’s offshore wind power capacity up 50% in a year

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Europe’s offshore wind capacity soared by 50% in the first half of 2012, compared to a year before, figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) show.

The association’s ‘key trends and statistics’ report says that 132 new offshore wind turbines, providing 523 megawatts (MW) of power were fully connected to the grid in the first six months of 2012, compared to 348.1 MW in the same period in 2011.

The figures for wind turbine builds were even more impressive with 103 erected in five wind farms since January – a 95% increase on the equivalent period in 2011.

The average size of wind turbines grew to 4MW, up 14% on last year, and 30% more turbines were connected to the grid.

Christian Kjaer, chief executive of EWEA, hailed the news as a triumph in the face of economic adversity.

“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."

EWEA figures show that Britain led the way in the renewables boom between January and July, installing eight new wind farms. Germany and Denmark both installed two new wind farms, and Belgium brought one online.  

In all, 4,336 MW of offshore wind capacity were operating in Europe as of 30 June 2012, up from 3,294 MW in June 2011, and providing electricity to the equivalent of 4 million households.

Thirteen wind farms were under construction during the first half of 2012. When finished, these will account for an extra 3,762 MW of capacity. 

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