Offshore capacity grows by 10% in H1 2017

WORLDWIDE: Offshore wind power capacity reached 16.1GW by the end of June 2017, adding more than 10% to the 14.3GW installed by the end of last year, according to analysis by wind:research.

Dong's 258MW Burbo Bank Extension was one of the largest to go online in H1 2017 (pic credit: Dong)
Dong's 258MW Burbo Bank Extension was one of the largest to go online in H1 2017 (pic credit: Dong)

The UK's 258MW Burbo Bank Extension, which went online in May, accounted for one-seventh of this increase.

It was the first offshore project to deploy the MHI Vestas V164-8MW turbine.

The report, Global Market for Offshore Wind Energy: Status Quo and Market Potentials until 2030, predicted increased turbine power ratings will help accelerate further growth worldwide.

In a "best case scenario" approximately 220GW of offshore wind energy could be installed by 2030, researchers predicted.

Political support and healthy competition, including the exploration of new markets, would also be needed for this capacity to be reached, the report concluded.

Tenders in the first six months of the year have resulted in low prices, the report’s authors noted, including zero-support bids for three sites (out of four) with a total capacity of 1.38GW in an auction for German offshore projects in April.

They wrote: "Offshore wind parks not needing any subsidies (only grid connection) any more are expected to speed up the international market in an impressive and enormous manner.

"Many countries will now be able to realise a bigger share of renewable energy in their energy mix."

The "whole industry" could benefit from the potential for cost reduction, sector coupling — for example, the use of electricity in the heating and transport sectors, storage, and enhanced or new technologies — including new turbine sizes and new foundation structures and technologies.

New markets in the latter part of the value chain — for example, improvements in operations and maintenance (O&M) — and new and emerging markets in terms of countries could also benefit the industry.

Analysts at wind:research noted Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the US as among the top emerging or new markets.

However, the industry faces challenges such as securing political support — especially for framework conditions to aid grid connection, or interconnection in the national energy system — as well as consolidation and concentration in the industry.

Projects further from shore and in deeper waters, which are more expensive to build and operate, together with rising interest rates and the potential for delays in technological developments and advancements, could also create challenges for the offshore market, the report stated

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