Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Europe's Offshore Wind Capacity Grew a Stunning 25% in 2017

Renewable Energy
Europe's Offshore Wind Capacity Grew a Stunning 25% in 2017
Walney Offshore Wind Farm, located off the coast of Cumbria, England. Wikimedia Commons

2017 was a banner year for European offshore wind after installing a record 3.1 gigawatts of new capacity, twice the capacity installed in 2016, according to a new report from WindEurope, an industry association.

European offshore wind capacity grew 25 percent in just one year to total 15.8 gigawatts, which WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson called "spectacular."


"Offshore wind is now a mainstream part of the power system. And the costs have fallen rapidly," Dickson continued. "Investing in offshore wind today costs no more than in conventional power generation. It just shows Europe's ready to embrace a much higher renewables target for 2030. 35 percent is easily achievable. Not least now that floating offshore wind farms are also coming on line."

Fourteen offshore wind projects were completed in 2017, including the world's first floating offshore wind farm, the Hywind Scotland. There are now 92 offshore wind farms in 11 European countries. Another 11 offshore projects are underway and will add another 2.9 gigawatts once complete.

Even wind turbines are getting more powerful. The average size of installed offshore wind turbines was 5.9 megawatts, a 23 percent increase from the year prior.

By 2020, WindEurope expects Europe's cumulative offshore wind capacity to grow to a stunning 25 gigawatts.

"The message to Governments as they prepare their plans is 'go for it on offshore wind': it's perfectly affordable and getting cheaper still; it's a stable form of power with increasing capacity factors; and it's 'made in Europe' and supports jobs, industry, and exports," Dickson said.

However, as Climate Action noted from the report, only a small number of countries can claim the lion's share of Europe's offshore wind power boom last year. The United Kingdom installed roughly 1.7 gigawatts—or more than half of the additions. Germany followed with 1.3 gigawatts.

Belgium added 165 megawatts and Finland another 60 megawatts. Encouragingly, France developed its first 2 megawatts of offshore wind farm energy, reflecting French President Emmanuel Macron's plans to ditch fossil fuels and increase renewables.

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
Trending
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less