Jul 26 2012

Mixed Signals in Europe’s Offshore Wind Energy Progress

Published by under Student blog entries

Although Europe has been struggling economically, developers in the region have substantially increased the amount of wind turbines attached to the grid just this year. They have already connected 132 turbines, totaling up to 523 MW of increased installed capacity. Up to 160 more turbines have been assembled, adding up to 647.4 MW, but the installation depends on weather conditions and grid connection availability. During the first six months of this year, 13 additional wind farms were being developed, and will total up to 3,762 MW additionally, once installed (Lacey, 2012).

Photo Credit to Think Progress

Last year, none of Europe’s wind farm projects were funded through debt, but in 2012 almost 30% of wind farms were funded through debt. European Wind Energy Association explains that the debt increase is due to the increase of market involvement from public financing agencies and banks. However, according to Danish wind consultancy MAKE, Britain, Germany, France, and other European countries that use wind energy must increase their funding by 50% in the next five years in order to meet offshore wind energy goals, but because European banks are losing trust, future wind farm project financing is unclear (Lacey, 2012).

Bloomberg News wrote about MAKE’s report concerning the decline in offshore wind turbine sales, which may affect future project production. MAKE’S report focused on the collapse of offshore wind turbine sales in Germany and Britain due to the market’s struggle to meet the countries’ leaders’ demands for more offshore turbines (Lacey, 2012).

Also, a project in Germany is in development, costing $1.2 billion, but the project cannot progress because the turbines cannot be connected to the grid yet – the project may be delayed up to 15 months due to this issue (Lacey, 2012).

The main roadblock to turning dreams of wind farms to a reality is the financial concern of connecting the turbines to the grid. The process is costly; however, the wind energy industry will be taking an optimistic turn in the future – by 2030, the installed capacity of all European offshore wind energy will jump from 4 gigawatts to 150 gigawatts, which is enough power to power 14% of Europe’s energy demand (Lacey, 2012).


Read the entire article at http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/18/543301/mixed-signals-in-europes-offshore-wind-market-industry-on-track-for-best-year-ever-but-orders-for-new-turbines-slow/?mobile=nc


Lacey, S. (2012, July 18). Mixed Signals In Europe’s Offshore Wind Market: Industry On Track For ‘Best Year Ever,’ But Orders For New Turbines Slow. Think Progress.


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