In the first half of 2011 offshore wind installations in the EU rose by 4.5 per cent from the same period of last year, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

An EWEA report found that 101 new offshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 348 MW were connected to power grids in the UK, Germany and Norway during the first six months of 2011.

Eleven offshore wind farms worth about EUR8.5bn ($12.2bn ) with a total capacity of 2844 MW are currently under construction in European waters. The average size of the installed offshore wind turbines rose to 3.4 MW, up from 2.9 MW during the first half of 2010.

“The sector is coming out of the financial crisis but is still facing a potential worsening of the general economic crisis,” said Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA.

“The number of banks providing capital for offshore wind farm investments is steadily growing, although there is a continued need for attracting an increasing number of large institutional investors to offshore wind farms – presently the largest construction projects going on in Europe.” 

As of 30 June 2011, Europe had 1247 fully grid connected offshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 3294 MW in 49 wind farms spread across nine European countries.

Several wind farms in Germany and the UK will reach financial close in 2011 and financial institutions will this year provide a record amount of financing to the sector of more than EUR3bn, said EWEA.

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