History of Europe’s wind industry

1982

A group of European agricultural machinery manufacturers fly to California

A group of European agricultural machinery manufacturers fly to California to assess the market for producing wind turbines. 20-30 turbines are shipped and installed from Europe to California by the end of the year

One of the first wind turbines

One of the first wind turbines – a 22 kw Bonus model, 1982

The first European wind farm

The first European wind farm (5 x 20 kW turbines) opens on Greek island of Kythnos

Wind turbine size reaches 55 kW

Wind turbine size reaches 55 kW

1983

Growian’s 3 MW two-bladed turbine

Growian’s 3 MW two-bladed turbine with 100 metre rotor diameter erected in Germany. It is abandoned in 1988

Europe exports 350 turbines

Europe exports 350 turbines, with a total capacity of 20 MW, to California

1984

In Denmark, vestas

In Denmark, Vestas starts serial production of a 75 kW three-bladed turbine

Enercon develops its first turbine

Enercon develops its first turbine, the E-15/16 (55 kW)

1985

West German firm, WindkraftZentrale

West German firm, WindkraftZentrale, begins exporting wind turbines

1987

Vestas decides to concentrate exclusively on wind energy

Vestas decides to concentrate exclusively on wind energy

1989

Fifteen single-bladed MBB

Fifteen single-bladed MBB (Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm) turbines go up in Germany. They are eventually dismantled in 1992

Danish Bonus company begins series production

Danish Bonus company begins series production of a 450 kW three-bladed machine with 35 metre rotor

1990

Europe’s largest wind farm installed in Jutland

Europe’s largest wind farm installed in Jutland, Denmark (42 x Nordtank 300 kW turbines)

1991

Built in 1991, Vindeby in Denmark was the world’s first offshore wind farm

Built in 1991, Vindeby in Denmark was the world’s first offshore wind farm

First offshore wind park constructed

First offshore wind park constructed at Vindeby off the coast of Denmark with eleven 450 kW turbines

First UK wind farm opens at Delabole

First UK wind farm opens at Delabole in Cornwall, with ten 400 kW wind turbines

Ten 30 kW wind turbines from German Aeroman

Ten 30 kW wind turbines from German Aeroman are installed on Sijiao island off the Shanghai coast of China

1992

First Spanish wind farms open at Tarifa in Andalucia

First Spanish wind farms open at Tarifa in Andalusia; National Energy Plan envisages up to 200 MW of wind capacity by 2000

1993

Enercon builds first E-40 direct drive (gearless) turbine

Enercon builds first E-40 direct drive (gearless) turbine

Blades about to be put on an Enercon E40 wind turbine in 1993

Blades about to be put on an Enercon E40 wind turbine in 1993

1994

France installs its first wind farm in the Tramont

France installs its first wind farm in the Tramonte wind corridor of the western Mediterranean using four Vestas 500 kW turbines

Spanish company Gamesa starts joint venture

Spanish company Gamesa starts joint venture with Vestas to manufacture wind turbines in Spain

1995

Construction of foundations for an offshore wind farm in Denmark, 1995

Construction of foundations for an offshore wind farm in Denmark, 1995

Danish manufacturer Nordex

Danish manufacturer Nordex erects prototype of 1.5 MW turbine in Denmark. Vestas and German company Tacke soon follow suit

1996

The Iranian government

The Iranian government—the world’s fifth largest oil producer—orders its first wind farm, comprising 300 kW Nordtank turbines

1998

Enercon celebrates erection

Enercon celebrates erection of the company’s 1,000th E-40 turbine

Vestas floated as a public company

Vestas floated as a public company on the Copenhagen stock exchange

2000

First large-scale offshore wind farm

First large-scale offshore wind farm, Middelgrunden, is erected off Copenhagen. 8,500 shareholders in Danish cooperative share 50% ownership of the 20 Bonus 2 MW turbines

Middelgrunden wind farm

Middelgrunden wind farm

2002

Alaiz wind farm in Navarra, Spain, 2002

Alaiz wind farm in Navarra, Spain, 2002

Horns Rev offshore wind farm opens

Horns Rev offshore wind farm opens in Danish North Sea (80 x Vestas 2 MW turbines)

Multinational corporation General Electri

Multinational corporation General Electric buys Enron Wind Corp, with both US and European manufacturing bases

2003

Vestas and NEG Micon merge to form

Vestas and NEG Micon merge to form the world’s largest turbine manufacturer, Vestas

The UK opens its first offshore wind farm

The UK opens its first offshore wind farm, North Hoyle, with 60 MW of capacity

2004

Siemens buys Bonus Energy of Denmark

Siemens buys Bonus Energy of Denmark, the fifth largest wind turbine manufacturer, and joins the wind energy business

German turbine manufacturer REpower installs prototype 5 MW turbine

German turbine manufacturer REpower installs prototype 5 MW turbine

Danish blade manufacturer LM

Danish blade manufacturer LM Glasfiber produces its longest blade yet – 61.5 metres in length

2005

Installation of a 3.75 MW Siemens turbine, 2005

Installation of a 3.75 MW Siemens turbine, 2005

2006

A wind turbine supply agreement commits Spanish

A wind turbine supply agreement commits Spanish Iberdrola to buy 2,700 MW, valued at €2.3 billion, from manufacturer Gamesa

2007

The world’s largest wind turbine to date, the 7 MW Enercon E-126, is installed in Emden, Germany, 2007

The world’s largest wind turbine to date, the 7 MW Enercon E-126, is installed in Emden, Germany, 2007

2008

Iberdrola Renovables and Gamesa

Iberdrola Renovables and Gamesa sign an agreement to develop and manage some wind projects together, and to supply 4.5 GW of turbines

2009

Statoil’s Hywind floating turbine, Norway, 2009

Statoil’s Hywind floating turbine, Norway, 2009

world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine starts operations

September: Hywind (2.3 MW), the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine starts operations in the North Sea

2011

Principle Power’s WindFloat Prototype, Portugal, 2011

Principle Power’s WindFloat Prototype, Portugal, 2011

WindFloat (2 MW), the world’s second

WindFloat (2 MW), the world’s second floating offshore multi-megawatt wind turbine, starts generation 5km off the coast of Portugal. It was the first to be deployed without the use of any offshore heavy lift vessels

2012

Alstom’s 6 MW Haliade

Alstom’s 6 MW Haliade begins generating electricity during certification testing

The world’s largest offshore wind farm

The world’s largest offshore wind farm opens off the coast of Cumbria, England. It has a capacity of 367 MW

2015

IKEA announces a €1 billion

IKEA announces a €1 billion commitment to wind, solar and climate action. Other companies also take to wind energy to power their businesses including BMW, General Motors, Nissan, Honda, CEMEX, Heineken, LEGO, IKEA, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple

2016

Agios Georgios island

Agios Georgios island, Greece has the only onshore wind farm with offshore characteristics: submarine cables connect it to Athens’ electrical grid. Photo Marios Zangas, 2016

July: Dutch tender brings offshore wind

July: Dutch tender brings offshore wind on a par with conventional power generation as DONG Energy surprises the industry with its record-low bid of €72.7/MWh for the Borssele I and II wind farms

November: Vattenfall amazes the market

November: Vattenfall amazes the market with a winning bid of €49.9/MWh for the Danish Kriegers Flak offshore wind project

June: 10 European countries sign a memorandum

June: 10 European countries sign a memorandum of understanding for regional cooperation in the North Sea to further the deployment of offshore wind energy

2017

Wind generates enough to cover Denmark’s

Wind generates enough to cover Denmark’s entire power demand on 22 February

Hywind Scotland: The world’s first floating wind farm is commissioned

18 October 2017 – Hywind Scotland: The world’s first floating wind farm is commissioned. 5 turbines of 6 MW each are connected to test floating technology in a park layout.

April: the results of the German offshore tender shock

April: the results of the German offshore tender shock the energy business as EnBW and DONG Energy announce the world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farms (to be developed by 2025)

May: Spain returns to wind energy with record low prices

May: Spain returns to wind energy with record low prices

Currently the longest wind turbine blade is 88.

Currently the longest wind turbine blade is 88.4 metres, produced for an 8 MW offshore turbine. Photo: LM Wind Power, 2017

2018

The world’s biggest wind turbine V164-8.8 MW is installed at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen

10 April 2018 – The world’s biggest wind turbine V164-8.8 MW is installed at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Ørsted’s Walney Extension becomes the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm

6 September 2018 – Ørsted’s Walney Extension, located in the Irish Sea, becomes the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm with 659 MW in total.

Mercedes-Benz makes the first corporate PPA deal in Germany for 46 MW of wind power

18 December 2018 – Mercedes-Benz makes the first corporate PPA deal in Germany for 46 MW of wind power. The PPA will support the wind farm’s operation when government incentives come to an end in 2021.

2019

Ørsted and Northumbrian Water Group sign the UK’s first Offshore Wind Energy PPA to deliver 100 GWh every year for the next 10 years

1 March 2019 – Ørsted and Northumbrian Water Group sign the UK’s first Offshore Wind Energy PPA to deliver 100 GWh every year for the next 10 years.