$15.4 billion invested in European offshore wind: Report

Anmar Frangoul | Special to CNBC.com
Markus Keller | imageBROKER | Getty Images

The first six months of 2016 saw a record 14 billion euros ($15.4 billion) of new investment in Europe's offshore wind industry, according to a new report -- however the number of new installations is dropping off.

Industry group WindEurope said that a total of 3.7 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity has been financed this year, with almost 75 percent of new investments in the U.K. The size of the wind turbines being installed is also getting bigger, now averaging 4.8 megawatts, a 15 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Despite the large investments, WindEurope said that the volume of new "grid-connected installations" in the first six months of this year was actually down by 78 percent compared to the same period last year.

"The investment numbers are very encouraging," Oliver Joy, a spokesperson for WindEurope, told CNBC via email. "Financiers are putting their money into a technology that is rapidly reducing costs and beating all expectations," Joy added.

Joy acknowledged that this year's lower installation numbers represented "a significant drop" but that this was seen rebounding in 2017 and towards 2020. "We expect to reach 23.5GW of offshore wind by the end of the decade," he added.

Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope said that while there was a clear industry commitment to offshore wind, challenges still remained, particularly in relation to what he described as "the uncertainty over future volumes and regulation in many key markets for the period after 2020. We're a long way from being able to say job done on offshore wind."