An offshore wind energy boom in Europe
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) published its annual report and the results are encouraging as the offshore wind energy capacity grew by 54 percent in 2009 with 577 MW.
The United Kingdom appears to be leading the sector as it installed more than half of the added capacity of the European Union. And this is only the beginning as the country plans to install 3,500 wind turbines this decade.
2010 is due to be another great year for this energy source accross the continent as capacity is due to grow by one gigawatt (1,000 MW if you prefer).
As the EWEA noted : ” In 2009 the turnover of the offshore wind industry was approximately €1.5 billion, and EWEA expects this to double in 2010 to approximately €3 billion.”
But this is only the beginning as 17 wind energy farms are currently under construction. When completed, they would be able to generate more than 3,500 MW. More than half of these facilities are due to be installed in British waters.
52 other farms have received their agreements from the European authorities. They will provide a whopping 16,000 MW to the grids when completed. That’s the equivalent of ten EPR nuclear reactors.
This shouldn’t make us forget that wind turbines only provide energy 25 to 40 percent of the time (A study from Stanford university found 33 percent).
Thus, back up power is needed. If this back up power is brought by coal as it is done in still too many countries, the greenhouse gases emissions are still way too high to be sustainable.