Offshore wind capacity in Europe rose last year by 18%, with the majority of the rise accounted for by the UK and Germany, according to a new report.

WindEurope said the increase follows the installation of 2.6GW of new offshore wind energy capacity in 2018, with 15 new offshore wind farms going online.

The increase means that 2% of all energy consumed in Europe now comes from offshore wind farms.

Three Scottish developments in the North Sea saw over 50 offshore turbines connected, contributing to Europe's total of 409 developments connected last year.

Read more: Fair Isle’s renewable energy system offers potential for economic growth

The Beatrice 2 wind farm in the Moray Firth, European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the coast of Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Pilot have a total capacity of 368.2MW.

Kincardine Pilot is home to the North Sea's first floating wind turbine, and is located around 15km south-east of Aberdeen.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: "Offshore wind continues to grow strongly in Europe. The total capacity expanded by a further 18% last year.

Read more: Onshore wind energy jobs down a third in Scotland

"Offshore wind now represents 2% of all the electricity consumed in Europe. And with a big pipeline of projects under construction and development, this number will rise significantly.

"The technology keeps developing. The turbines keep getting bigger. And the costs keep falling. It’s now no more expensive to build offshore wind than it is to build coal or gas plants. And it’s a good deal cheaper than new nuclear."

Stephanie Conesa, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: "Scotland is home to around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource and we are now starting to build out projects which will harness this potential.

"Scotland is also emerging as an international centre of offshore wind innovation, and the economic impact of these projects is already being felt in ports like Nigg and Wick and coastal towns including Campbeltown and Stornoway, which are seeing investment, development and jobs.

"The Scottish Government has shown its ambition to generate the equivalent of half of all energy consumed from renewable sources by 2030 and offshore wind can play a key role in meeting that ambition, as well as the UK’s wider climate goals and our international commitments under the Paris Agreement."