The European Wind Energy Association is forecasting that up to 1,500 MW of offshore wind power will be connected to European national grids this year, continuing the region’s growth trend in offshore wind-power installations.

The association says offshore wind-power installations grew 51% to 883 MW last year from 582 MW in 2009, even though onshore wind-power installations (8.4 GW) were down 13.9% compared to the same kind of installations (9.7 GW) in 2009.

However, monopiles are considered suitable in water depths up to about 30 meters. As wind farms are sited farther from shore, new styles of foundations will be needed.

The average offshore distance of sites last year increased by 12.7 kilometers to 27.1 km from shore; corresponding water depths rose by 5.2 m to 17.4 m on average. Projects now under construction are, on average, 35.7 km from land, according to the association.

By the end of 2010, nine European countries had nearly 3,000 MW of offshore wind power in operation (see table). Offshore wind projects amounting to 19,000 MW have secured consent, reports EWEA.