Europe invests €14bn in offshore wind in six months

The market has eclipsed the total amount invested in the sector last year by collecting enough money to finance 3.7GW of new capacity in the first half of 2016.

More capital has been invested in Europe's offshore wind industry in the first half of 2016 than the whole of last year, according to trade association WindEurope.

Totalling €14 billion, these investments will finance 3.7GW of new capacity, WindEurope said in a report it published yesterday. Including the €2.5 billion committed to refinancing transactions, and €1 billion deployed into offshore wind transmission infrastructure, Europe has seen €17.5 billion invested in offshore wind from the beginning of January to the end of June.

The UK is the most active market so far this year, receiving €10.3 billion to build 2.5GW. The UK Green Investment Bank will likely add to this number in the second half of the year after raising £818 million ($1.07 billion; €973 million) for the GIB Offshore Wind Fund, the largest renewables vehicle in the UK.

Germany saw €2.5 billion invested to build 835MW, followed by Denmark, which collected €999 million, and Finland, which received €121 million.

Offshore wind has become more cost effective, WindEurope said, with the average turbine installed this year generating a combined 4.8MW, a 15 percent increase in output over the same period last year.

However, developers still have work to do to pull project financiers into the industry. Most projects were funded from power producers' balance sheets, with infrastructure and pension funds accounting for 25.2 percent of this year's installed capacity.

This includes the £2.6 billion ($3.8 billion; €3.4 billion) financial close of the Beatrice offshore wind project, supported by its developer, SSE, as well as Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Beijing-based SDIC Power Holdings.

Overall, Europe connected to the grid a total of 511MW of offshore wind capacity in the first half of 2016, which is 78 percent less than the same period last year. But DONG Energy has already increased that total going forward by announcing earlier this month it won the rights to build 700MW off the Dutch coast.