Europe within sight of 5GW

Offshore capacity up one third, UK dominated 2012 growth

Europe installed nearly 1.2GW of offshore wind capacity last year, one-third up on 2011. Total installed capacity reached 4,995MW, according to figures released today by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

The UK retained its dominance, accounting for 73% of newly installed capacity last year. Denmark, Belgium and Germany combined accounted for most of the remainder.

Last year, 293 offshore turbines were installed and investment of about €4bn was made in offshore wind farms, according to EWEA.

Nevertheless, the sector is not without its challenges, including "political and regulatory instability, the economic crisis, the higher cost of capital and austerity," noted EWEA policy director, Justin Wilkes.

Prospects for 2013-14 are good, with 14 projects currently under construction and about 3.3GW of additional capacity due to be installed.

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