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2017 was a record year for offshore wind in Europe according to statistics released by WindEurope. Europe installed 3.1GW of new offshore wind, taking total capacity to 15.8GW, an increase of 25% in just one year. 13 new offshore wind farms were completed, including the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland. The UK and Germany accounted for most of them, installing 1.7GW and 1.3GW respectively.

Europe now has over 4,000 offshore wind turbines operating across 11 countries. The average size of the new turbines was 5.9MW, a 23% increase on 2016. And the average size of the new offshore wind farms was 493MW, a 34% increase in 2016. A further 11 offshore wind farms are currently under construction, and they’ll add another 2.9GW.  The project pipeline should then give us 25GW total by 2020. But offshore wind in Europe remains heavily concentrated in a small number of countries: 98% of it is in the UK, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. 2017 also saw final investment decisions (FIDs) taken a further 2.5GW new capacity. These investments are worth a total € 7.5 billion. This is down on 2016. But it reflects falling costs. Plus the fact that new investments could still get feed-in-tariffs in 2016. The transition to market-based support (auctions) has slowed down new investments, not least there’s a time-lag between winning an auction and confirming an investment. Auctions held in 2016 and 2017 should translate to FIDs worth € 9 billion in 2018. Beyond 2020, things are less clear. Much depends what new offshore wind volumes governments commit to in the National Energy and Climate Action Plans for 2030 (NECAPs).