Led by European utilities, the offshore wind industry is poised for substantial growth over the next decade, with the global installed base expected to grow to nearly 45 GW in 2020, according to a new market study from Emerging Energy Research (EER). With large northern European utilities driving the industry forward in the short term, the stage is being set for North America and Asia offshore development as well, according to EER.
‘The global offshore wind energy industry's entry into the next decade will be marked by concrete progress built on the past 10 years of moving along the learning curve,’ according to Eduard Sala de Vedruna, senior wind analyst at EER. ‘While the global offshore market has been slow to take off due to cost and logistical challenges -climbing from 70 MW installed to 1.5 GW over the past eight years – the industry is now scaling, thanks to increased focus on offshore by European utilities.’
Asia and North America are currently looking to Europe for technology and cost benchmarking. Between 2010 and 2020, these two regions will contribute nearly 25% of the total new offshore capacity installed worldwide, according to the EER study.
In Europe, tapped-out onshore markets and higher capacity factors of offshore development are driving governments to incentivize the technology, providing key support to drive industrial build-out.
EER expects Asia to tap its offshore markets in 2014, led by China and Korea. In North America, test projects in the U.S. (Deepwater Wind) and Canada (NaiKun) may come to fruition by 2012, with over 6 GW projected by 2020, according to EER.
Utilities own 90% of the 20 GW of offshore projects in the pipeline in Europe, many of which are now moving to procure turbines and define engineering, procurement and construction strategies for project execution. Northern European players – mainly German utilities – have the most aggressive expansion plans in terms of megawatts and geographic diversity of their pipelines, according to EER.
To reduce installation costs and maximize power output, utilities are seeking bankable, larger turbines to maximize economies of scale. Europe's trend toward 5 MW turbines for 200 MW and larger projects moving further offshore will provide key references for near-term projects in the U.S., Canada, China and Korea.
The recent launch of larger turbines, the increasing size of projects and the industry's ability to scale the supply chain with vessel, cabling and foundation installation capacity are fundamental to project execution, according to EER.
SOURCE: Emerging Energy Research