Iberdrola says offshore wind is "foundation" for future growth

Group's global wind capacity rose to 13.3GW in 2011

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Offshore wind will be "one of the foundations" of future growth for energy giant, Iberdrola. The group's 2011 annual report emphasises the significance being placed on offshore wind as a source of new installed capacity, by the group's senior management team.

Iberdrola describes offshore wind as the "second revolution in renewables", in an annual report that confirmed 2011 group-wide revenue of €31.6bn and an EBITDA of €7.7bn.

That said, onshore wind dominates Iberdrola's 14GW of existing renewable capacity (excluding hydroelectric generation) and over the coming years the group will have to prove its ability to develop successful offshore projects.

Click here to find out more!One of the most significant steps taken by Iberdrola last year was the integration – via a merger - of its former subsidiary, Iberdrola Renovables. This structural change brings renewables into the heart of the Iberdrola group. Renewables is now one of Iberdrola's four thematic business lines.

Iberdrola is active in the UK, France and German offshore wind markets, and last year saw it commit "the principal investments" for the West of Duddon Sands project off the west coast of England, which it is developing via its subsidiary, Scottish Power Renewables. Scottish Power Renewables has a 67% stake in the project, with Dong holding a minority share.

Earlier this year, Iberdrola was granted permission from the French energy ministry to proceed with development of the Saint Brieuc offshore wind farm. In this case, Iberdrola is partnering with RES Group's French business, Eole-RES.

Last year, Iberdrola's total wind-generated electricity production rose 13.8% to 27.9GWh. Renewables sources accounted for 19.8% of the group's total electricity production of 145,126 GWh, a figure which excludes hydro-electric generation. The latter contributed a further 12.2%.

The Bilbao-headquartered group acknowledges that offshore wind remains a "technological challenge" and that its 2011 research and development budget of €140 million saw a significant – though unspecified – proportion devoted to offshore wind issues.

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