According to the European Wind Energy Assn.’s (EWEA, Brussels, Belgium) mid-year report, “The European Offshore Wind Industry — Key trends and Statistics, 1st Half 2015,” wind farm operators there installed more new capacity in the first half of 2015 than in all of 2014. EWEA credited the spike to completion of several large projects and to use of much larger turbines that feature longer composite blades, which enable the rotor to capture more energy via a significantly greater swept area. Average turbine capacity, therefore, rose, says EWEA, from 3.5 MW in 2014 to 4.2 MW, thus far, this year.
Offshore installations in Europe through June 30, 2015 totaled 2,342.9 MW — tripling the grid-connected capacity installed in the first half of 2014. As a result, total installed European offshore wind capacity hit 10,393.6 MW (82 wind farms in 11 countries). Germany accounted for the majority, with 406 turbines (1,706 MW), the UK followed with 140 (522 MW) and The Netherlands brought up the rear with 38 (114 MW). Kristian Ruby, EWEA’s chief policy officer, says, “It has taken the offshore wind industry just six months to set the best year the sector has ever seen.”