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With wind energy capacity growing at a rapid pace, the value of the global operations and maintenance (O&M) market is expected to increase from $3 billion in 2008 to $19 billion by 2020, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.

According to a company report, more than 191 GW of wind power capacity was added between 2008 and 2012, which has drastically increased O&M expenditure from $3 billion to $7 billion in the same period, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6%.

Offshore wind energy will continue to attract higher O&M costs in comparison to onshore wind, reaching a market size of $5 billion - or a 29% share of the total O&M market - in 2020, the report adds.

“Higher turbine maintenance, high logistics costs and a lack of skilled manpower make offshore wind services more challenging than the onshore equivalent,” comments Prasad Tanikella, GlobalData’s senior analyst. “Although onshore wind also faces similar issues, the impact of these factors on the offshore segment is more significant.”

Currently, the U.S. is the largest O&M market in the world, but GlobalData expects that China will surpass it to become the leader in O&M expenditure with a 24.7% share of the market by 2020.

According to the report, the growth in the wind industry’s O&M cost is largely due to the increasing age of wind turbines and the failure of components such as blades and gearboxes.

“This increase in market size is leading to a rise in the number of companies providing specialized wind turbine O&M services, which is in turn bringing the benefit of lower costs to consumers,” concludes Tanikella.



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