Is the offshore wind market take-off occurring?
From 334 MW installed in 2008, there is now 2 GW currently installed and 2 GW under construction. Despite the slow start, the offshore wind energy market is now developing and supply chain is seeing growth and investment.
- UK is showing success due to some key factors and has received good financial support through the Renewables Obligation Certificate System
- Denmark currently has strong projects that can be built at reasonable costs
- Germany’s first commercial projects are nearing construction and supply chain growth is extremely strong
- Despite the development being constrained by targets, Netherlands has a huge project pipeline and future potential is good.
- With fast development going for China, its first commercial project is under construction at a fast pace.
- Legislation is now coming together in the US.
Because of high average wind speeds and port facilities are within reach, . offshore wind power plants are typically installed along coastlines. However, since access is only possible by boat, barge or helicopter, more time, planning and manpower are required than for onshore plants. Weather is also an important factor as it may disrupt the transportation and installation process due to bad weather.
Due to its offshore location, the costs involved in the installation of wind turbines are high and have doubled in five years. There is far greater supply chain requirements and many stakeholders to consult.
However, in several countries investment incentives are already put in place in such as capital grants, subsidized loans and levy exemption certificates.
Land-based wind energy has always been dominant and is likely to remain dominant in the immediate future. But as of late, installations at sea are becoming increasingly important. According to latest research from Frost & Sullivan, offshore wind is expected to grow into a more substantial contributor of electricity generated from wind by 2020. And according to Frost & Sullivan estimates, installed capacity of offshore wind is expected to grow from 1,276 MW in 2008 to 18,769 MW by 2015.
Improvement in Technology
3 MW turbines are the current standard and 5 MW + are becoming more common, and 7.5-10MW are already being developed. Turbines need to become offshore specific and reliable; and this will require more new installation vessels and installation methodologies. Currently, there have been a few specialist contractors to provide installation vessels. However, despite this, there is supply/ demand imbalance and installation takes up long lead times.
With the marine environment being very demanding, technology reliability is a concern and downtime costs are high. Therefore, marine-specific technologies and techniques, together with strong offshore oil and gas experience are crucial in the offshore wind energy industry.
|Power of Wind
- Wind power is clean, proven and available almost everywhere in the world
- Wind power is part of the energy mix in 80 countries
- Wind power can be up and running on a large scale, in a matter of months
- Wind power will save 10 billion tons of CO2 by 2020
- We need wind power technology to save us from climate change