Europe to remain global leader in offshore wind energy for at least a decade

The European offshore wind farm sector will continue to lead the world market for the foreseeable future, according to a new report showing that the region will have 75% of global installations in six years.

Conducted by Pike Research, the report launched on Tuesday found revenues from offshore wind power production around the world would reach €75 billion by 2017.

The report said that figure represents a 53% compound annual growth rate over the next six years.

There will be more than 71 GW of global offshore turbines capacity in 2017 according to Pike’s base scenario, which forecasts slightly more than 4 GW of accumulated installed wind farm capacity by the end of this year, representing €2.2 billion in power production revenue.

The report notes, however, that the biggest markets for offshore wind energy, for at least the rest of this decade, will be in northern European waters.

“Europe as a whole will lead the world market in 2017 with 75% of installations, or 53 GW,” the report noted. “Such capacity will translate to offshore wind farm installation costs of over €145 billion.”

In terms of nations, the report found that the United Kingdom would have by 2017 the highest installed offshore wind farm capacity at 12 GW, China slightly less than 12 GW, and Germany at 10 GW.

The report found that the cost of offshore wind power generation is significantly higher than that for onshore wind farm, prompting the sector to deploy larger turbines in bigger wind farms in order to reduce costs.

“The long-term fate of the offshore wind power industry likely hinges on driving down the cost of energy,” it said, adding that securing new sources of financing is a crucial challenge facing the sector.

EWEA is set to publish its own offshore wind energy report in November at the EWEA Offshore 2011 event in Amsterdam. The offshore sector is on a strong growth path and it is set to create thousands of jobs over the next decade. The report is expected to look into falling costs in offshore, the supply chain, and necessary infrastructure including cables, vessels and ports.

Chris Rose,