This Frost & Sullivan research service titled Investment Opportunities in the Wind Energy Sector in Europe provides an overview of the opportunities present in the most attractive geographies, parts of the value chain and other ancillary markets. In this research, Frost & Sullivan’s expert analysts thoroughly examine onshore and offshore wind farm markets in terms of countries, value chain and peripheral markets.
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Fair Winds in the Offshore Wind Energy Market to Help Europe Retain its Pivotal Role in the Global Wind Energy Sector
The 2020 European Union (EU) Renewable Energy Directive, volatility of oil and gas prices, energy security and ageing fossil-fuelled power plants are still driving the growth of wind energy, the most mature form of renewable energy, in Europe.
The region’s pioneering and undisputed technology leadership in this field is and has been attracting numerous investors. Although the onshore wind turbines market is reaching saturation in some countries, the strong market fundamentals in Europe continue to bolster other parts of the wind energy market.
Similarly, while western European countries such as Germany and Spain are mature, other countries are compensating for their dip in sales. “The offshore wind energy market is also gathering pace, especially in the installation vessels as well as construction and component production segments,” says the analyst of this research. “Ancillary markets including services and construction are also beginning to attract both market participants as well as investors,” says the analyst of this research.
Although the market is looking to regain lost ground following the financial downturn, the steep fall in demand for wind turbines and wind energy installation projects have compelled many market participants to move to higher growth markets such as the United States and China. The lack of liquidity among participants has put the brakes on the double-digit growth rates seen prior to 2007.
Further, the decrease in oil and gas prices during the slowdown will make it less attractive for utilities to invest in wind energy projects. However, investment cycles for power plants are always long term, and there is hope that this setback is only a blip in business cycles.
Offshore wind farm installations are more productive than onshore wind farm projects because of the lack of intrusions. While average wind speed on land is 7m/sec, offshore speed is higher and even touches 9 or 10m/sec.
“Load factors are also double those of onshore wind,” notes the analyst. “Moreover, project economics and economies of scale encourage developers and owners to build large-scale projects (greater than 100 MW), thereby making a bigger contribution to the renewable energy (RE) target.”
Such new and large power plants are the order of the day, as many power plants in Europe will reach the end of their useful life over the next decade and are due to be decommissioned by 2020. The rise in demand for electricity will place additional pressure on the electricity infrastructure. Therefore, it is imperative for governments and utilities to invest in offshore power plants.