2017 was the year for Europe’s offshore wind market. The sector is expected to grow at a higher rate than onshore, despite the fact it doesn’t see as much capacity installed in a year compared to its onshore competition.
The costs of offshore wind capacity are also dropping in price, and are expected to drop more as competition in this industry increases.
Navigant Research is responsible for finding this data and publishing the report on the differences in Offshore Wind Capacity in 2016 to 2017.
Over fourteen offshore wind projects were completed in 2017! One of these projects includes the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in Hywind Scotland. There are currently 92 offshore wind farm projects in 11 different European countries, and another 11 projects are still being completed.
To add on to the success of Offshore wind projects a record of 3.1 gigawatts of new capacity was installed in 2017, which was a record breaker that more than doubled 2016’s capacity.
One of the top reasons for the price plummeting is due to the phasing out of the feed-in-tariff in favor of a free price-competitive system that uses contract auctions in both the onshore and offshore sectors.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson is in full support of this new system and the potential of offshore wind in competing vs. onshore wind and other sources of energy. “Offshore wind is now a mainstream part of the power system. And the costs have fallen rapidly, investing in the offshore wind today costs no more than in conventional power generation. It just shows Europe’s ready to embrace a much higher renewables target for 2030. 35 percent is easily achievable. Not least now that floating offshore wind farms are also coming online.”
According to Climate Action, only a small number of countries can claim the majority of Europe’s offshore wind boom from last year. The United Kingdom installed the most gigawatts with 1.7, and Germany followed closely behind with 1.3 gigawatts.
Dickson also stated, “The message to Governments as they prepare their plans is ‘go for it on offshore wind’: it’s perfectly affordable and getting cheaper still; it’s a stable form of power with increasing capacity factors; and it’s ‘made in Europe’ and supports jobs, industry, and exports.”
Another force in the offshore wind markets success also has to do with the turbine technology solutions, which has mostly been offered by the original equipment manufacturers. These companies made the capital investments necessary to support the creation and selling in this industry.
The projected growth of this market is expected to be over 11 percent CAGR through 2022, and every year there is expected to be over 3 GW to 5 GW installations.
From the point of view of potential growth and the obvious growth that has been seen so far in this competitive market, it looks like this is only the beginning of Offshore wind capacity, and it has a bright future ahead of it!