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Germany is replacing its nuclear reactors with massive offshore wind farms via Quartz

Offshore wind power isn’t the easiest thing to build. The turbines themselves are large and complex, and need to keep working for decades in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. As well as the windmill, there’s a support structure needed for every turbine to keep it upright and spinning; then there are the connecters that take the power back to land, where it’s needed. A ballpark figure of around £1 million ($1.5 million) for each turbine isn’t an exaggeration.

Nevertheless, several countries are surging forward with a massive installations in the coming year, and first among them is Germany. In 2015, Germany will install over two gigawatts of offshore wind power, almost four times as much as the 529 megawatts installed the previous year, according to the research firm GlobalData. In hiking its installation so much, Germany will overtake the UK as the biggest installer of offshore wind globally, GlobalData points out—though the UK will still have much more capacity overall. (Denmark comes behind the UK in the pecking order by capacity, followed by Belgium and, for the moment at least, China.)

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China is also planning an array of offshore projects this year, which will see it eventually overtake the UK for annual installations, according to GlobalData. Still, the UK’s position as top offshore power producer is likely safe for the moment: It already had over 4 gigawatts of capacity at the end of 2014, compared with Germany’s 1.3 gigawatts, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

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