Germany overtakes UK to install more offshore wind turbines

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 10 Sep 2015 11:25
Future looks bleak for UK's once-bright offshore wind industry
Future looks bleak for UK's once-bright offshore wind industry

Germany has for the first time overtaken the UK to connect more offshore wind turbines to the power grid, according to the latest official figures.

Statistics released by the European Wind Energy Association shows the UK offshore wind pipeline is in danger of drying up as Germany installed more than three-times as many turbines in the first half of this year.

As industry chiefs warn political interference is creating investor uncertainty, the number of offshore turbines connected in the UK has nearly halved from the same period the previous year with just 140 coming online.

And despite the UK’s Dudgeon, Beatrice and Galloper offshore projects still in the planning stages, the future looks bleak as Energy Ministers are expected this week to reject planning permission for the Navitus Bay wind farm scheme off the south coast of England.

Despite the UK slump, in the first six months of 2015, the European offshore wind industry installed more new capacity than in any other year on record as several projects reached completion and deployment of larger turbines increased.

Installations in the first half of 2015 touched 2,342.9MW - tripling the grid-connected capacity for the same period last year. As a result, total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe hit 10,393.6 MW in 82 wind farms across 11 countries.

Kristian Ruby, Chief Policy Officer at the European Wind Energy Association, said: "It has taken the offshore wind industry just six months to set the best year the sector has ever seen in terms of installed capacity. While this clearly shows a commitment to offshore wind development in Europe, a number of completed projects, explosive growth in Germany and the use of higher capacity wind turbines are major contributors to these numbers."

With 584 wind turbines fully grid connected in the first half of 2015, the average machine size rose to 4.2MW from 3.5MW a year earlier as manufacturers continue to develop larger models with higher energy capture.

Ruby added: "To ensure healthy growth in the coming years, and to guarantee offshore wind energy plays its role in meeting the EU's competitiveness, security and decarbonisation objectives, the industry needs long-term visibility. Strong reforms to the operation of Europe's electricity market and much-needed upgrades to infrastructure to help the integration of wind energy must be a priority. It is also critical that Member States meet renewable energy commitments toward the end of this decade and set out a clear game plan to meet Europe's 2030 targets."

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