Next Decade One of Progress for Global Offshore Wind Industry

 With large northern European utilities driving the industry forward in the short term, the stage is being set for North America and Asia wind power offshore development as well, according to EER.

"The global offshore wind energy industry’s entry into the next decade will be marked by concrete progress built on the past 10 years of moving along the learning curve," according to EER Senior Wind Analyst Eduard Sala de Vedruna. While the global offshore market has been slow to take off due to cost and logistical challenges — climbing from 70 MW installed to 1.5 GW over the past eight years — the industry is now scaling thanks to increased focus on offshore by Europe utilities," says Sala de Vedruna.

Asia and North America are currently looking to Europe for technology and cost benchmarking. Between 2010 and 2020, these two regions will contribute nearly 25% of the total new offshore capacity installed worldwide, according to EER.

In Europe, tapped-out onshore markets and higher capacity factors offshore are driving governments to incentivize the technology, providing key support to drive industrial build-out. "Offshore is still very much a European industry led by the UK and followed by Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark," says Sala de Vedruna. EER expects Asia to tap its offshore markets in 2014, led by China and Korea. In North America, test projects in the US (Deepwater Wind) and Canada (NaiKun) may come to fruition by 2012, with over 6 GW projected by 2020, according to EER.

Vestas Re-asserts Offshore Presence with V112

On 14 September 2009, Vestas Wind Systems A/S announced a plan to produce a 3 MW, V112 offshore wind turbine by 2011. On 27 October 2009, Vestas’ CEO confirmed that the manufacturer is working on development of a 6 MW offshore wind turbine. The announcement marks a break from Vestas’ previous plans to develop a 4.5 MW turbine.