Four EU countries built new capacity in 2012

Belgium outpaces Germany, with UK far ahead

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Just four EU countries installed and grid-connected new offshore wind turbines last year: the UK, Belgium, Germany and Denmark, according to data recently published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

As previously reported, six offshore projects in UK waters accounted for 73% - or 854MW - of new capacity.

The scale of the UK's progress is stark when compared with Germany, where just 80MW was installed in 2012, representing 9.4% of the UK's total.

If all goes to plan, Germany should achieve a far higher growth rate this year, with six offshore projects under construction and new capacity during 2013, possibly totalling about 1GW.

Last year, Belgium outperformed Germany more than twice over, installing 184.5MW at one wind farm – the third phase of Thornton Bank.

The fourth country to install new offshore capacity was Denmark, with 46.8MW coming online at Anholt. Denmark's 2013 capacity growth will be greater, with just over 350MW more due at Anholt.

EWEA's data underlines how heavily the European offshore wind market relies on the UK and a small number of other northern EU states.

Countries such as France and Poland are in the process of planning their first offshore wind farms. Others, such as the Netherlands, are trying to regain momentum. Overall, the European offshore wind industry remains geographically confined.

Collectively, EU member states have failed to achieve their 2012 non-binding interim target for offshore wind capacity, reports EU environmental policy publication ENDS Europe. Having installed just under 5GW of capacity, Europe stood 14% below the targets set by EU member states in their national renewable energy action plans.

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