Europe On Track For Step Change In Annual Offshore Wind Capacity


Europe On Track For Step Change In Annual Offshore Wind Capacity This year, 3.6 GW of offshore wind capacity are expected to be added to the global electricity grid, and by the end of the year, total global grid-connected offshore wind capacity will stand at 12.4 GW, according to MAKE Consulting's Global Offshore Wind Power 2015 report.

With 3.6 GW of new capacity, 2015 is set to become a record year for grid-connections – corresponding to a near doubling of added capacity in 2014. In Europe alone, 3.1 GW of offshore wind capacity will be grid-connected, with Germany accounting for 75% of added capacity in Europe.

After an expected slow-down in 2016, the global offshore wind market is expected to show strong long-term growth at a 19% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2024 – driven mainly by key European markets and China. By 2024, total offshore wind capacity is expected to reach 92 GW, which is equivalent to 10% of global wind power capacity, the report says.

Development will slow in 2016 mainly because of the transition from the Renewables Obligation to the Contracts for Difference support scheme in the U.K. – implying that no grid connections will take place in the U.K.

In Germany, Gode Wind 1 and 2 are expected to be fully commissioned in 2016, along with grid connection of part of the Nordergrunde project. The Dutch 600 MW Gemini project will also be partly commissioned.

After the contraction in 2016, the global market will quickly rebound and grow at a CAGR of 55% from 2016 to 2018 globally and 76% in Europe, according to MAKE.

The report notes that competition in key markets has a downward pressure on costs. This trend toward reduced costs will continue in the years to come, and support levels have correspondingly been lower than generally anticipated. MAKE expects the levelized cost of energy to be reduced from a level of around EUR 140/MWh today to around EUR 110/MWh by 2020, only to reach a level of EUR 83/MWh by 2025. Hence, offshore wind will be approaching grid parity by 2025, MAKE explains.

Turbine ratings are increasing rapidly, and by 2020, the average global turbine rating will increase by more than 60% compared to the average this year. New investments are needed in order to cope with the installation of larger volumes and per-unit sizes of turbines and foundations by 2020. If investments are not carried out in due time, says MAKE, there may be a negative impact on offshore wind development.

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