Offshore wind energy had a successful 2016, according to data from WindEurope, with 1.5 GW added by the sector last year.

Europe installed 1,558 MW of new offshore wind during the year with cumulative capacity reaching 12,631 MW.

In addition the industry announced a record €18.2bn of investments in new wind farms to be built in the coming years. This represents a further 4.9 GW of new capacity across five countries, half of it in the UK.

Giles Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of WindEurope, said: “It’s good to see the high level of investments in offshore wind – up 40 per cent year on year. The new installations are in line with trend rate of the last 5 years after a spike in 2015. This was due to a backlog of grid connections.”Giles Dickson of Wind Europe

Germany and the U.K. will install more than 1.6 GW each, while Belgium will add 165 MW and Denmark 23 MW.

“We’re set to reach 25 GW total capacity by 2020 – double today’s level,” Dickson added.

Oliver Joy, also of WindEurope told RE-News that the investment in the sector will probably not beat last year’s record of EUR18.2bn ($19.5bn).

Last year’s 1.5 GW new installations were developed in three countries – Germany (813MW), the Netherlands (691 MW) and the UK (56 MW) – spread across 7 wind farms. They represent 338 wind turbines with an average size of 4.8 MW, up from 4.2 MW in 2015. Last year, saw the first 8 MW turbines deployed in the UK.

Beyond 2020 the prospects are unclear for the market. Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have signalled further build-out of offshore wind to 2030, but other countries haven’t yet and WindEurope is hoping to see more targets being expressed by member states in terms of Energy and Climate Change Action Plans to be submitted as part of the EU Energy Union.