February 6 (Renewables Now) - The European offshore wind industry saw the commissioning of 3,623 MW of new capacity in 2019, marking a new high for annual additions, data by WindEurope shows.
According to the report, released on Thursday, the new power plants bring Europe’s cumulative installed offshore wind power capacity to 22,077 MW.
A total of 10 offshore wind farms in five countries were plugged in last year. The largest contributor in terms of new capacity was the UK, which accounted for almost 50% of the new installations by switching on 252 turbines totalling 1,760 MW. Germany came next with 1,111 MW of new capacity, followed by Denmark and Belgium where 374 MW and 370 MW of wind parks, respectively, went online. Portugal was also among the countries with new capacity, being responsible for 8 MW of the overall additions for the year.
In 2019, projects worth EUR 6 billion, representing 1.4 GW of capacity, reached final investment decisions (FIDs). These, together with the increased commissioned capacity is a clear sign that the continent has “really embraced” offshore wind, said WindEurope’s CEO Giles Dickson. He added, however, that the current level of new installations and investments will not be enough to cover commitments for up to 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050 under the Green Deal. “That means 7 GW new offshore wind every year by 2030 and 18 GW onwards by 2050. Last year we built a record amount, but only 3 GW,” the CEO explained.
A highlight in WindEurope’s statistics was the rising capacity of individual wind turbines, with their average size being 7.8 MW. In line with that, offshore wind farms are getting bigger as their average size doubled from 300 MW in 2010 to over 600 MW now. The largest operational offshore wind farm is currently the 1.2 GW Hornsea 1 in UK waters.
Financially speaking, the costs for offshore wind continue to fall “significantly” and the technology is now cheaper than gas, coal and nuclear, the industry body said. Prices in the latest auctions for offshore wind in the UK, France and the Netherlands were as low as EUR 40 (USD 44) per MWh.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.100)