Europe experienced record growth in offshore wind power capacity last year (2010) – they installed 308 new offshore wind turbines which represents a 51% increase in installed wind power capacity over 2009. Overall, nine new offshore wind farms in five European countries came online, yielding 883 MW of new wind generation capacity.
The European total of 1,136 offshore wind turbines produce a total of almost 3 gigawatts (2,964 MW to be exact), and supply enough power for about 2.9 million households. Breaking it down by country, the UK is in the lead with a total offshore wind capacity of 1,341 MW. Next comes Denmark (854 MW), the Netherlands (249 MW), Belgium (195 MW), Sweden (165 MW), Germany (92 MW), Finland (26 MW), Ireland (25 MW), and Norway (2.3 MW). Next year, total European wind power capacity is expected to further increase another 1,000 and 1,500 MW.
(and while its easy to point fingers at the current U.S. offshore wind capacity which right now is virtually nil, there are a couple of projects that are getting close – Cape Wind in Massachusetts and Block Island in Rhode Island. One thing to keep in mind is that turbines off the US coastlines have to deal with frequent tropical storms and hurricanes. Europe doesn’t get those types of storms. Turbines built off the US coastlines are going to have to be built and installed differently.)