February 6, 2018 / 8:39 AM / 3 months ago

Europe added record 3 GW of offshore wind capacity last year -industry group

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe added more than 3 gigawatts (GW) of new offshore wind capacity last year, representing a new record, research by industry association WindEurope showed on Tuesday.

WindEurope’s annual offshore wind report said 3.148 GW of new capacity linked to onshore grids was installed in 2017, twice as much as in 2016.

That brings the cumulative total of offshore wind installations in Europe to 15.78 GW, made up of 92 offshore wind farms in 11 European countries.

Offshore wind has become a more established and proven renewable energy source.

Technology and operating costs have fallen over the past few years and many European governments have curbed subsidies which were aimed at helping the sector reach maturity.

The average size of offshore wind farms under construction grew last year to 493 megawatts, 34 percent higher than in 2016, as wind turbine size increased.

By 2020, Europe’s cumulative offshore wind capacity is expected to grow to 25 GW. WindEurope then expects 3.1 GW to be added in 2021 and 3.2 GW in 2022.

“Beyond 2022, there is uncertainty over the EU market for offshore wind. The EU post-2020 regulatory framework and cost reductions in industry will be key drivers for offshore wind towards 2030,” the report said.

By 2030, there could be 70 GW of offshore wine capacity in Europe.

Reporting by Nina Chestney, editing by David Evans

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