Europe has installed 1.3 GW of new offshore wind capacity in the first half of 2021, according to WindEurope, a Brussels-based association promoting wind energy in Europe.
The European Union (EU) is expected to generate around 20% of its power through offshore wind projects by 2050 and has 120 offshore wind projects as of now. Governments across Europe have committed to installing 111 GW of operational offshore wind capacity by 2030.
According to WindEurope, 2.5 GW of wind turbines have been ordered, doubling the current installation rate. The size of turbines is getting larger as newly installed turbines average 8-10 MW each. Meanwhile, orders are also being placed for 12-15 MW turbines.
Dogger Bank Wind Farm will have 14 MW turbines that can power a household for two days with a single rotation.
The association has said that Spain had published its offshore wind strategy, while the Polish Government signed contracts with developers for 6 GW offshore wind projects expected to be operational from 2026.
Greece is also expected to prepare legislation for its first offshore wind auctions next year. The association said Europe is expected to open the world’s first offshore wind project with a grid connection to Germany and Denmark.
Meanwhile, France has launched the auction for a large-scale floating wind farm and started building its first offshore wind project. It also started infrastructure works in the Mediterranean Port-La-Nouvelle to develop three floating wind farms.
In addition, Europe also has plans to produce renewable hydrogen with offshore wind as Ørsted is expected to build a 1 GW electrolyzer in its SEAH2LAND project. The electrolyzer would be linked to a new 2 GW offshore wind project in the Dutch North Sea and should be producing hydrogen by 2030.
Green hydrogen is considered a key driver, especially in Europe, as governments establish COVID-19 recovery strategies. In its recent hydrogen strategy, the European Union (EU) called for 40 GW of hydrogen electrolyzer capacity by 2030.
Giles Dickson, chief executive officer (CEO) of WindEurope, said, “Offshore wind is already producing 3% of Europe’s electricity and is set to grow rapidly. Turbines are getting bigger and more powerful. And more and more countries are building offshore wind farms and committing to develop them as costs fall, making offshore wind a whole European affair.”
“Europe continues to lead on the technology, including on floating wind. And we are innovating on the integration of offshore wind into the energy system, with world’s first wind farm connected to two countries, and investment happening in offshore wind to hydrogen,” Dickson added.
The association added that governments need to keep engaging on their regulatory frameworks, auctions, grid planning, build-out supply chain, and ensure co-existence between rapidly expanding offshore wind and other social and economic interests in the maritime space.
Last year, the European Commission unveiled its plans for increasing Europe’s offshore wind capacity up to 60 GW by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050, from its existing capacity of 12 GW. It also proposes an additional capacity enhancement of ocean energy and other emerging technologies such as floating wind and solar up to 40 GW by 2050.
Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.