More than 130 new offshore wind turbines, totalling 523.2 megawatts (MW) were fully grid connected in Europe in the first six months of 2012, according to a new report from the European Wind Energy Association.
The 132 installations represents a 50% new-build increase compared to the same period in 2011 when 348.1 MW were installed.
According to today's report, a further 160 turbines, totalling 647.4 MW, are installed but awaiting grid connection and work has started on 270 foundations in 10 wind farms – a year-on-year increase of 109%.
When completed, the renewable energy the sites will produce will be enough to power more than 8 million households.
Europe now operates 1,503 offshore wind turbines that are fully grid connected in 56 wind farms across 10 countries, with a total capacity of 4,336 MW, as of 30 June 2012.
Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said: "50 per cent more offshore wind power capacity was installed in Europe in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year, despite the economic and financial turmoil".
"Offshore wind power creates jobs in Europe, reduces our fuel import costs, and avoids the global and local health and environmental costs of extracting, transporting and burning fossil fuels. Offshore wind power is increasingly attracting investors, including pension funds and other institutional and corporate investors, but it would be good to see more activity in southern Europe where jobs, investments and growth are desperately needed.”
2012 could turn out to be the best year ever for offshore wind energy in Europe, as a further 160 turbines, totalling 647.4 MW, are built but awaiting grid connection. But this is subject to weather conditions at sea and grid connection delays.
A total of 4,336 MW offshore wind capacity was operating as of 30 June 2012 - up from 3,294 MW in June 2011 - producing electricity for the equivalent of 4 million households.
During the first half of 2012 overall, 13 wind farms were under construction. Once completed these wind farms will account for an additional capacity of 3,762 MW.