LONDON Jan 28 German engineering group Siemens extended its lead over Danish wind turbine rival Vestas last year, growing its market share in the European offshore wind sector to 60 percent, industry figures showed on Tuesday.
Siemens was Europe's top wind turbine supplier last year, with 1,249 turbines installed in European waters, followed by Vestas with 574 turbines, or 27 percent of the market, data published by the European Wind Energy Association showed.
European governments are supporting the growth of offshore wind energy via attractive subsidy payments, aiming to help lower carbon emissions in the electricity sector.
Britain and Denmark are Europe's leading offshore wind markets, with installed capacities of 3.68 gigawatts (GW) and 1.27 GW respectively.
Siemens and Vestas have been vying for the top offshore wind turbine supplier spot over the past years, with Siemens growing its market share by 2 percentage points in 2013 at the expense of Vestas, whose market share dropped by 5 percentage points, EWEA data showed.
Both companies are seeking growth in emerging renewable energy countries such as Brazil and India to counter plunging prices in European markets.
Overall European offshore wind capacity rose last year by one third to 2,080 turbines, but the growth was concentrated in the first half of the year, hinting at a slow-down in new build activity over the past six months.
"The unclear political support for offshore wind energy - especially in key offshore wind markets like the UK and Germany - has led to delays to planned projects and fewer new projects being launched," said Justin Wilkes, deputy chief executive at EWEA.
"This means installations are likely to plateau until 2015, followed by a decline as from 2016."
Britain has launched a new mechanism to reward renewable energy and hand picked projects eligible for subsidy payments, creating uncertainty for those left off the shortlist.
A change in government in Germany has led to a new energy policy direction focused on reining in the costs of renewable energy subsidies and cutting its target for offshore wind capacity.
EWEA expects some 3 gigawatts (GW) in new offshore wind capacity to come online in Europe in the coming years, compared to the current 6.5 GW, and has identified a total of 22 GW of approved projects in the pipeline. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Keiron Henderson)