Yesterday I wrote about the progress of an offshore wind project in the UK, the Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstration project. Today The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has said that 2012 could be the best year ever for offshore wind energy in Europe. Just this year 532.2 megawatts (MW) or 132 offshore wind turbines have been connected to the grid in since January. This is a 50 percent increase compared to the first six months in 2011 when only 348.1 MW were installed.
Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA noted that this feat was achieved despite global economic and financial turmoil. “Offshore wind power creates jobs in Europe, reduces our fuel import costs, and avoids the global and local health and environmental costs of extracting, transporting and burning fossil fuels. Offshore wind power is increasingly attracting investors, including pension funds and other institutional and corporate investors, but it would be good to see more activity in southern Europe where jobs, investments and growth are desperately needed.”
In addition to what is currently operational, there are another 160 turbines, representing 647.4 MW of energy built and waiting to be connected to the grid. Factors affecting the speed of connection include weather conditions at sea and grid connection delays. Moving forward there are 13 offshore wind farms under construction and when completed will add another 3,762 MW of capacity.
To date, there is a total of 4,336 MW offshore wind capacity up from 3,294 MW in June 2011. This is enough electricity to energize 4 million average sized homes.