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According to the latest WindEurope data, Europe raised €26.3bn to finance 7.1 GW of new offshore wind capacity in 2020. The UK, Netherlands, Germany and France all saw final investment decisions for major new offshore wind farms. Europe installed 2.9 GW of new offshore wind capacity in 2020. This is in line with WindEurope’s pre-COVID forecast.
Nine new offshore wind farms came online across five countries. The Netherlands connected 1,493 MW and completed the development of the Borssele Wind Farm Zone. Belgium connected 706 MW, the UK 483 MW and Germany 219 MW. Portugal completed the installation of a floating offshore wine farm, co-funded by the EU’s NER300 programme.
Europe now has 116 offshore wind farms across 12 countries. 40% of the capacity is in the UK. But new players are entering the scene. France will finally start building its offshore wind farms after final investment decisions on 1 GW which will be built by 2023. They’re also planning four small floating offshore wind farms and this year will tender a large floating offshore wind farm. Poland passed a historic Offshore Wind Act and aims for 28 GW of offshore wind by 2050. Additionally, they initiated an agreement among all eight Baltic countries to cooperate on offshore wind. Greece is about to adopt plans for the build-out of offshore wind. And the three Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania - are all developing projects.
The average size of the turbines installed last year was over 8 MW. 2020 saw big orders for GE’s 13 MW GE Haliade-X turbine. And Siemens Gamesa announced a new 14 MW turbine. New offshore wind farms now deliver capacity factors in excess of 50%.
The EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy (ORES) that the EU Commission tabled last year was a milestone. It mapped out the regulatory framework for the expansion of offshore wind development and set a target of 300 GW offshore wind for the EU by 2050, 25 times more than what the EU has today.