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Offshore wind grows by 4.5% in 2011

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) today published offshore wind energy statistics for the first half year of 2011, showing a 4.5% increase in installations of offshore capacity compared to the first half of 2010.

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

In Europe, eleven offshore wind farms worth some €8.5bn (£7.5bn) and with a total capacity of 2,844MW are currently under construction in European waters. The size of the installed offshore wind turbines averaged 3.4MW - up from an average of 2.9MW during the first half of 2010.

“While I see several positive trends for the European offshore wind power industry, we are not home and dry yet,” EWEA chief executive officer Christian Kjaer.

“The sector is coming out of the financial crisis but is still facing a potential worsening of the general economic crisis. 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.”

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 - over £2.6bn.

Between three and five transactions are expected to close during the course of the year. Equity financing, including divestment of stakes in existing projects to initiate new ones, highlights new approaches to financing among developers and power companies following the financial crisis.

As of 30 June 2011, there are 1,247 offshore wind turbines fully grid connected

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