The UK was responsible for over half of the newly installed European offshore wind farms in the first six months of this year. It installed 147 wind turbines at eight farms, representing a combined capacity of 455 megawatts (MW) This compared to 743 MW in total across Europe. Denmark followed the UK with 179 MW of installed capacity, then Belgium (99 MW) and Germany (10 MW).
Overall 16 offshore wind farms totaling 3,972 MW were under construction. Of the four that became fully operational, two in UK waters – Gunfleet Sands and Robin Rigg – became fully operational. Poseidon in Denmark and Alpha Ventus in Germany were also fully 'switched on’.
The EWEA said 118 new offshore wind turbines were fully connected to the grid in the first half of 2010 with a capacity of 333 MW. This is more than half of the 577 MW of offshore wind installed in Europe throughout the whole of 2009.
European offshore wind heading for "record year"
However, Wilkes noted that lack of finance was hindrance to growth. "Projects led by utilities are less affected thanks to their ability to fund investments from their balance sheets, but independent developers are severely constrained," he said.
Commenting on today’s figures, Britain’s green energy body RenewablesUK said they showed that offshore wind could deliver "not just electricity, but jobs and business benefits to the UK".
As well as the one gigawatt of capacity already installed, the UK has a total development pipeline of 49 GW. According the UK Government, one 1 GW of installed offshore wind turbine capacity is sufficient to satisfy the annual electricity consumption of 684,000 UK households.