A striking feature of the figures is the targeted rise in offshore wind capacity. This currently represents a very small proportion of western Europe's total wind power generation capacity of 9.5 gigawatts (GW). By 2010, EWEA says, just over 8% of the targeted total capacity of 60GW should be sited offshore. By 2020, offshore installations should be contributing one-third of total 150GW capacity.
Vicky Pollard of EWEA's Brussels office told ENDS Daily today that the huge increases in capacity would come about mainly because of the less complicated planning restrictions for offshore plants. This means that larger numbers of more powerful turbines can be installed. High grid connection costs for offshore plants also favour the installation of larger plants in order to reap economies of scale, she said.
Onshore turbines currently average just under one megawatt (MW) in output while 2MW turbines are already in operation off Denmark and bigger models of up to 5MW are in the pipeline (ENDS Daily 17 June 1999). North-western Europe, with its high winds and shallow seas, would see the bulk of the offshore capacity increases, Ms Pollard said. Though the EWEA targets were "aspirational," she added, they were feasible, and previous ones had been exceeded.
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