Deep water, the next step for offshore wind power

Last July EWEA launched a study with the same title as this article to evaluate the potential of the European deep water offshore wind market. The move to ever deeper waters is already evident, supported year after year by the facility statistics in Europe. However, overcoming the barrier of depths of 40-50 metres opens up enormous potential for this market; one only has to think of the possibility of using the Mediterranean’s offshore wind resources, where there is currently not even one offshore wind farm up and running. Below we discuss the main ideas presented in this study.

At the end of 2012 there were 1,662 turbines totalling 5 GW of installed offshore wind capacity spread across 55 wind farms in 10 European countries. They produced 18 TWh, enough electricity to power almost five million households. Offshore wind represents 10% of installed wind capacity across Europe. Most of the offshore projects (3.2 GW, representing 65% of total capacity) are located in the North Sea.

16% of total capacity is located in the Baltic Sea and 19% in the Atlantic. In the first six months of 2013, Europe fully grid connected 277 offshore wind turbines, with a combined capacity totalling over 1 GW, making it true to say that current installed offshore capacity in Europe is over 6 GW.

Article published in: FuturENERGY December 2013