Substantial growth in both the rate of new installed capacity and in new project and equity financing was achieved by Europe's offshore wind industry during the first six months of 2012 (H1).
New grid-connected capacity increased by almost 50% during H1, compared to the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, financing was secured for three offshore wind projects – the same number as during the whole of 2011.
A detailed picture of the H1 achievements of the European offshore wind industry has been released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), in its report The European offshore wind industry – key trends and statistics 1st half 2012.
Turbines & capacity
H1 highlights include a 30% increase in the number of offshore wind turbines being fully grid connected. A total of 132 turbines, with an average individual capacity of 4MW, were grid connected during the period. Collectively, they represent an additional 523.2MW, bringing Europe's cumulative offshore capacity to 4336MW as of 30 June. This is 49% more than new grid-connected capacity installed during H1 2011.
Just three turbine manufacturers saw their machines grid connected during H1, with Siemens the clearly-dominant player, responsible for 108 of the 132 turbines in question. A small number of REpower and Bard turbines were also grid connected.
EWEA has also analysed which developers achieved the greatest share of new grid connected capacity during H1. The top three players were Dong (28%), SSE (15%) and RWE (12%), with a further four developers each installing 8% of H1 new capacity. They were: Holdco, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.
A further 160 turbines installed during H1 await grid connection. Collectively, these turbines have a capacity of 647.4MW.
Even more impressive than the growth rate for new grid-connected capacity, was a 109% jump in new foundation installations. According to EWEA, 270 foundations were installed at 10 wind farms during H1, which represented more than a doubling of H1 2011's foundation installation numbers.
New foundations were installed at five UK offshore wind farms, two Danish, two German and one Belgian project. While EWEA's report identifies the individual wind farms where foundations were installed, it does not include market share data about leading foundation suppliers.
Project financing activity "remained sold" during H1, argues EWEA. Financing for three European offshore wind projects was finalised during the period: Gunfleet Sands, Lincs and Northwind. This is the same number as for the whole of 2011.
Together, these projects attracted €1.3bn in new lending, from an increasingly-diverse range of investors. Greater diversification was also seen in the type of financing provided and in deal structure, notes EWEA. The organisation identifies two further offshore wind projects likely to secure financing by the end of the year: the next phase of Walney and Butendiek.
On the equity side, deals done during H1 included EDF's purchase of a 50% stake from in the UK Round 3 Isle of Wight zone, from Eneco, and Enova's sale of development rights for four German projects to a joint venture created by Hochtief and Ventizz.