The European Wind Energy Association has said that 2012 could be the best year ever for offshore wind power in Europe.

The trade group has revealed that the number of offshore wind turbines connected to the grid in Europe in the first six months of 2012 doubled from the figure of a year earlier.

A total of 132 new turbines, totalling 523.2 MW, were connected, compared to 348.1 MW in 2011.

And it added that a further 160 turbines totalling 647.4 MW are already built and waiting to go on line, subject to weather conditions and grid connection delays.

A total of 4336 MW offshore wind capacity was operating in Europe as of 30 June 2012, up from 3294 MW in June 2011.

During the first half of 2012, 13 wind farms were under construction. Once completed, these wind farms will account for an additional capacity of 3,762 MW.

Christian Kjaer, chief executive of EWEA, said that offshore wind was increasingly attracting investors, including pension funds and other institutional and corporate investors, but he added: “It would be good to see more activity in southern Europe, where jobs, investments and growth are desperately needed.”