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Record year for offshore wind

Offshore wind is taking off in Europe with 118 new offshore wind turbines being connected to the grid in the first half of 2010, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

The new offshore wind turbines total 333 MW – well over half the 577 MW installed offshore last year - showing continuing strong growth in offshore wind power despite the financial crisis.

In addition, 151 offshore wind turbines totalling 440 MW were installed but not yet connected to the grid, EWEA says.

Overall 16 offshore wind farms totalling 3972 MW were under construction. Of these, four became fully operational: Poseidon in Denmark, Alpha Ventus in Germany, Gunfleet Sands and Robin Rigg in the UK.

To date in Europe there are 948 offshore wind turbines in 43 fully operational offshore wind farms, with a total capacity of 2396 MW.

Leading developers and manufacturers

Among the developers, E.ON Climate and Renewables developed 64% of the grid connected offshore wind capacity during the first half of 2010, followed by DONG (21%) and Vattenfall (11%).

Among the manufacturers, Siemens accounted for 55% of the grid connected offshore wind capacity during the first half of 2010, Vestas 36% and REpower 30.9%.

Investment needed

“Despite the financial crisis, offshore wind continues to be a major growth industry”, said Justin Wilkes, Director of Policy at EWEA.

“There is no doubt this burgeoning industry is being held back by a lack of finance. Projects led by utilities are less affected thanks to their ability to fund investments from their balance sheets, but independent developers are severely constrained. Loans from public institutions such as the European Investment Bank are crucial and have already helped a number of projects, and this support must be extended further.”

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