Promising forecast for global offshore wind
Offshore wind is forecasted by leading market intelligence actors to increase with an average cumulative growth rate of about 16% each year from 2017 to 2026. The annual growth rate in mature European markets is estimated to be an average of +9%, whereas growth in APAC is estimated to be +27% and in North America an incredible +55% on an annual basis toward 2026.
This is not the first time that offshore wind has been projected to play a prominent role in the power sector, but this time around we in DNV GL believe it will now happen due to the latest technology developments, supply chain and project optimization, and other important macro-economic and societal drivers. Now offshore wind is beginning to reach maturity in Europe and is on the verge of taking off in emerging markets, such as Asia and North America.
Many different developments have accelerated this industry advancement. The evolution in technology and wind turbine efficiency (turbine and rotor size), and the historic low bids in auctions in both Germany and the Netherlands in 2017 have all played a significant role in fueling and accelerating the optimistic forecasts for this promising energy technology. With the new cost-competitive price-levels from the industry players, offshore wind has developed to become a very attractive clean power generation option – especially for “load centres” next to or close to the sea with good wind conditions and affordable grid-connections. As many mega-cities are in the process of planning or renewing their installed power generation plant, offshore wind offers very compelling opportunities to fill a significant position in the power mix because of high capacity factors, low LCOE (levelised cost of electricity), and not least surprisingly, stable delivery of clean energy when viewed from a regional offshore-cluster perspective. With new battery storage and hybrid power generation solutions there is no doubt that offshore wind power will play a huge role for future clean power delivery to coastal mega cities. This is what we have seen for some years now in Northern Europe – and now the well proven solutions are fast spreading to other areas of Europe, East-coast North America, and parts of Asia.
Over the past 15 months, we have also seen a trend of established offshore wind projects changing ownership which has enabled new investors and owners to enter the market. This has on the other hand empowered the more mature industry players to re-invest in new projects and start making the move to emerging markets. We are thus now experiencing a fruitful knowledge transfer of offshore wind experience carried by commercial players looking for new opportunities in emerging markets. In Taiwan, an offshore wind pipeline is rapidly developing and projects close to 5 GW will shortly be in the implementation phase with participation of a mix of international and domestic players. In North America, especially on the East coast, a number of states are now announcing auctions of several thousand gigawatts, with Massachusetts announcing the winners of the first 2-3 GW wind farm in April 2018.
Finally, let me highlight the latest trends in the offshore wind advisory business, where we are seeing increasing customer interest:
- In services helping to lower and mitigate project risk (like both certification and technical due diligence services) for emerging markets and facilitation of entry of new investors,
- New software tools to lower O&M costs (like WindGEMINI) both for manufacturers and project developers
- And finally, new, sophisticated tools for forecasting mid-to-long term power prices (as the new single most important investor risk in future wind projects).
DNV GL is excited to be right in the first wave together with our customers to make the clean energy transformation safer, smarter and greener.