After an expected contraction 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, mainly driven by key European markets and China, according to a ‘Global Offshore Wind Power 2015’ report published by renewables market analyst MAKE.
By 2024, total offshore wind capacity is expected to reach 92GW, equivalent to 10% of global wind power capacity, MAKE predicts.
Turbine ratings are increasing rapidly, and by 2020 the average global turbine rating will increase by more than 60% compared to the average in 2015.
Enhanced components and foundations required for offshore will put pressure on the supply chain to meet demand, not least of which is strain on the current fleet of vessels. New investments are needed in order to cope with installation of larger volumes and per unit sizes of turbines and foundations by 2020, according to MAKE, and if investments are not carried out in due time, it may have a negative impact on the deployment of offshore wind.
The use of larger monopile foundations is being stretched to support turbine ratings exceeding 6MW. Monopiles continue to dominate the foundation market, with more jackets gradually expected to enter the market in the coming years.
Even though a number of floating demonstration projects are planned by the early 2020s and will accelerate learning, floating wind will remain a niche technology until the end of the next decade, MAKE believes.
HVAC transmission seems to be the preferred option for projects until 2020 outside of the German part of the North Sea. The industry is now preparing to make a transition from 33kV to 66kV inter-array cables to support increasing turbine sizes, but the shift will be slow, since by 2020 no more than 20% of total demand will be based on 66kV cables. In Europe, the transition from 33kV inter-array cables to 66kV cables will start from 2019.
New innovative foundation concepts, such as suction bucket jackets, are being tested and can play an important role in driving down costs.
In essence, MAKE says that offshore wind has emerged as a stable and viable source of power generation that offers policy makers a means to generating new local jobs. Continued policy support for offshore wind is key to continue a positive development of the industry with increasing cost-out opportunity.
The offshore wind industry is making promising progress in terms of reducing cost of energy, with competition in key markets having a downward pressure on costs. The trend towards reduced costs will continue in the years to come, and by 2025, offshore wind will be approaching grid parity.
Looking at the current year, wth 3.6GW new offshore wind power capacity, 2015 is set to become a record-year for grid-connections, corresponding to a near doubling of the added capacity in 2014, according to a new report by renewables industry analysts MAKE.
In Europe alone, 3.1GW of offshore wind capacity will be grid-connected, with Germany accounting for 75%.