A Big Year for Offshore Wind and a Bright Future Ahead

In an article for Renewable Energy World, Navigant Research looks at the drivers behind continued growth in the offshore wind market

While capacity installations in the offshore wind market don’t quite stack up to those of the onshore wind market, the sector does account for higher growth rates. In fact, over the next decade, the offshore market is expected to experience a 11.1 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) vs. the single-digit rate for the onshore market.

In an article for Renewable Energy World, Jesse Broehl, senior research analyst with Navigant Research, looks at the factors behind this growth and shares some insight on where the market is headed.

In 2017, the global offshore wind industry added roughly 3.3 GW of new capacity, while presently, an additional 7.9 GW are in varying stages of construction, and nearly 19 GW is in an advanced planning stage. Broehl says this points to a healthy market in the coming years, particularly as fixed payment policies, such as the feed-in-tariff, are gradually being phased out in favor of more dynamic and price-competitive contract auctions.

Also helping to drive success are improvements in turbine technology and selection. As turbines grow larger, manufacturers are responding with ever-increasing rotor diameters and variations in foundation options. Combined with the 2017 installation of the first truly commercial scale multi-turbine floating project, these developments indicate a positive future for the offshore wind industry, according to the report.

“All of these recent developments and expected growth are promising: over 11 percent CAGR through 2022 with annual installations ranging from 3 GW to 5 GW, turbines with rotors exceeding 170 meters, nameplates soon to exceed 10 MW, floating foundations now a reality, and developers confident enough to bid into some markets at the fluctuating market price with zero-subsidy,” Broehl wrote. “The proof is already here that the future of wind power is increasingly going to be offshore in many global markets.”

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