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Listening to the winds of change: Offshore wind power production reaches new levels

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Offshore wind power in Europe continued to scale new heights in 2017. A record of net additional installed capacity, 560 new offshore turbines and 14 projects completed summarise the outstanding performance of the sector, according to figures released by the European wind energy association

Innovation has played a critical role in recent developments. Today, Europe has the world’s first commercial-scale floating wind farms, located 25 kilometres off Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The turbines can be used in water depths of up to 800 meters (Statoil New Energy Solutions) and the outputs have exceeded initial expectations.

Making new areas accessible and reducing costs are research priorities.  New multi-use substructures (i.e. for various depths), the development of new materials and material recycling solutions are the focus of on-going and future research. Currently, there are 92 offshore wind farms in 11 European countries. Forecasts estimate that offshore wind will grow to a total installed capacity of 25 GW by 2020 (67% more than the existing capacity in 2017).

Would that be enough to effectively contribute to reaching the goals set by the European Union? Renewable electricity generation targets were set in the 2030 Energy Strategy. Recently, the Commission released “A Clean Planet for all: A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy” (COM, 2018). The strategy envisions offshore renewable energy sources as part of the backbone of a carbon-free European power system.

EU offshore wind energy represents approximately a quarter of the onshore capacity installed in 2017. EMODnet-Human Activities offers a map of the current status of Wind Farms, where it is possible to zoom in on the details at country level. If you are a newcomer, then welcome to EMODnet-Human Activities! Users will find the maritime location of the wind farms, distance from coast, number of turbines, power (MW), start date and functional state (Authorised, Operational, Planned, Production, Under construction) – if the data have been provided by the original sources. Data from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom are provided. Find the latest (November 2018) update on wind farms, when data from 47 new points were recorded and 55 points updated for status changes.

The information and views set out in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on the European Commission's behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information therein.

May 3rd, 2019 | Written by

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