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EWEA's Opinion

Event news: Europe will continue to lead global offshore wind

16.09.2009

STOCKHOLM - About 80% of energy generated by offshore wind will come from Europe by 2020, Marc Mühlenbach of Spain´s Emerging Energy Research, said today.

Europe's offshore wind industry is in "good health” and is set to “lead the global offshore expansion”, he said, speaking at the European Offshore Wind 2009 conference and exhibition in Stockholm.
Over the next decade, the UK and Germany will head Europe's offshore boom, accounting for a total of around half of the installed capacity worldwide, Mühlenbach said.

But several policy bottlenecks could put the brakes on such a spectacular growth. One of the biggest problems is the lack of a coherent offshore transmission build-out policy. Currently policy is decided on a project-by-project basis, and Mühlenbach said this approach will become increasingly inefficient as projects further out to sea are planned.

He also called for more incentive mechanisms to help get offshore projects established. In 2009 Germany and the UK improved their incentive systems, but more schemes are needed in other countries. Boosting investment in research and development, as well as carrying out more feasibility studies is vital, Mühlenbach added.

Alistair Dutton of the UK Crown Estate predicted “very strong growth” in offshore wind capacity. “Last year it was all talk and this year it´s all about action”, he said. “There´s a surge in developer appetite, confidence is starting to build; it´s an interesting time to be in the sector”, Dutton said.

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has a target of 40 GWs of installed offshore wind capacity by 2020. To reach that, a 28% annual growth in the market is required, starting today. 40 GW is an “achievable target”, Justin Wilkes of EWEA said. By 2030 EWEA´s target is for 150 GW of offshore generating capacity.

EWEA has launched a declaration calling on national governments and the EU to take action to resolve planning, grid and other obstacles to harnessing Europe´s enormous offshore wind energy potential. Visit the website: http://www.ewea.org/offshore 

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