Europe has expanded its offshore leadership by adding 3.6 gigawatt (GW) of new commissioned capacity in 2019, bringing the total offshore wind installed capacity at the end of 2019 to above 22 GW, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
Spreading across 12 European countries, the UK holds the largest share with 9.9 GW of capacity, representing around 45% of the cumulative installed offshore wind capacity in Europe, followed by Germany with 7.6 GW (34%), and Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands representing 7.7%, 7.1% and 5% respectively.
The new commercial offshore wind capacity for 2019 marks the third successive year of high build-up for European countries. GlobalData estimates around 10 GW of new offshore wind capacity has been added between 2017 and 2019, more than Europe had installed in the previous six years during 2011-2016.
In 2019, 11 new offshore wind farms emerged across six countries. The UK accounted for nearly half of the capacity with 1.76 GW, followed by Germany with 1.1 GW, Denmark with 374 megawatt (MW) and Belgium with 370 MW. Two new emerging markets, Portugal and Spain, have entered the European offshore space with a respective 8.4 MW and 5 MW installation in 2019. WindFloat in Portugal houses the largest offshore floating wind turbine in the world, while Spain tested its offshore waters with a 5 MW prototype.
Reflecting the advancement in wind turbine technology and improved logistics, the average size of an offshore wind farm in Europe in 2019 rose to 600 MW, while the average turbine size rose by 1 MW to 7.8 MW, according to WindEurope’s Offshore Report.
Ankit Mathur, Practice Head of Power at GlobalData, comments, “The declining costs for offshore wind have seen a significant fall of approximately 25% since 2012, with a further estimated reduction of 8-10% by 2025. The recent wind offshore auctions in the UK, France and the Netherlands saw delivered power prices in the range of USD 44-55, narrating the competitiveness of wind offshore by achieving the grid parity.”
The global wind offshore market has been dominated by European countries; however, they now stand against strong rising competition from new potential markets such as China, the US, and other nascent markets like South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. GlobalData expects the European countries share in the cumulative installed offshore wind capacity to fall from the current 77% to 52% by 2030.
Mathur concludes, “In order to achieve the EU’s ambitious carbon neutrality target by 2050, offshore wind has to play a major role. The target deployment of the offshore wind capacity needs to overcome the obstacles of slow-moving permitting procedures, inadequate transmission infrastructure to evacuate power and resistance from local population and environmentalists.”