GWEC: Installed Offshore Wind Reaches 8,759 MW in 2014

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) launched its flagship publication the Global Wind Report: Annual Market update yesterday in Istanbul.

The report details wind power’s remarkable growth in 2014, as well as updating GWEC’s rolling 5 year market projections, which show continued growth for the rest of the decade.

Led by China and Brazil in the first instance, as well as Mexico and South Africa, non-OECD markets outstripped the traditional markets in Europe and North America again in 2014. China installed an astonishing 23 GW of new wind power last year, bringing its cumulative total to more than 114 GW, and Brazil was the world’s 4th largest market in 2014, and entered the top 10 in cumulative rankings for the first time. The African market took off in 2014, and Germany, Chile, Canada and Turkey also had record years.

“Wind power’s growth is increasingly driven by its competitive pricing, as well as because it enhances energy security, price stability and (especially in China) through the need to address the choking smog that is increasingly making major urban areas in the developing world unliveable,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.

“The need for clean, sustainable indigenous power sources to fuel economic growth throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America is increasingly being met through wind power, and this will continue for the foreseeable future.”

The US market recovered in 2014 from a dismal 2013, and looks set for at least another two strong years, as does Canada. Germany’s record installations led an increasingly concentrated European market.

Looking ahead, GWEC expects the 2015 market to top 50 GW again in 2015, and reach 60 GW per year by 2018.

In a part of the report dedicated to the offshore wind sector, GWEC says:

2014 saw total cumulative installations in the offshore sector rise to 8,759 MW. The total annual installations reached 1,713 MW between January and December 2014.

At present, more than 91% (8,045MW) of all offshore wind installations can be found in European waters; mainly in the North Sea (5,094.2 MW: 63.3%), Atlantic Ocean (1,808.6 MW: 22.5%) and in the Baltic Sea (1,142.5 MW:14.2%). However, governments outside of Europe have set ambitious targets for offshore wind and development is starting to take off in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US. The GWEC-led FOWIND consortium is developing an offshore wind roadmap for India, and other markets, such as Brazil, have raised interest in future offshore development.

While electricity from onshore wind farms is already cheaper than conventional power in an increasing number of markets, relatively high costs remains the biggest challenge for offshore wind development.

However, according to a study commissioned by EWEA in 2015, offshore wind costs could be reduced to EUR 90/MWh (USD 94) by 2030. The report says that the sector will have nearly reduced the levelised cost of energy to EUR 100 per MWh by 2020, by which time cumulative installed capacity in European waters is expected to have tripled to 23.5 GW.

Key actions to reduce costs include: deploying larger turbines to increase energy capture (a 9% saving); encouraging greater competition (7%); commissioning new projects – keeping volume up (7%) and tackling supply-chain challenges (3%).

Source: GWEC

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