Growing focus on offshore wind energy casts shadow over growth of onshore wind energy projects

The Paris Climate Conference in December last year brought together 195 countries to chalk out an action plan to limit global warming. The first-ever, legally binding global climate deal has aided the growth of the global onshore wind energy market. The market is anticipated to take a leap at a CAGR of 25% during the period between 2011 and 2016, and reach a valuation of US$93.1 bn by the end of 2016. This wind energy cumulative capacity accounted for 197,039 MW in 2010 and is projected to rise to 1,750,000 MW by 2030.

Onshore wind energy projects have gained confidence of investors owing to the low risk of technology failure. The growing focus on renewable sources of energy and the usage of wind energy to generate electricity at grid parity levels have led to increased investments in onshore as well as offshore wind energy projects. Furthermore, these projects have significantly supported the growth of the wind turbine market worldwide. The steady growth of the wind energy and wind turbine market can be attributed to the advancements in the modern wind technology.

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How is the global onshore wind energy market evolving compared to its offshore counterpart?

In the global wind energy market, the onshore technology accounts for 95% of the market whereas the offshore technology registers a mere 5% market share. However, in the coming years, the offshore wind energy market is anticipated to surpass the growth of the onshore wind energy market. Higher wind speed at offshore wind energy projects generate more electricity and are hence, preferred by governments across nations. The current low market share of the offshore wind technology can be attributed to the high O&M costs. The low tolerance of noise, coupled with bad visual impact of onshore wind turbines has led to the increased preference for offshore wind turbines.

Which are the key regions aiding the growth of the global onshore wind energy market?

In 2010, the U.S. emerged as the largest market for onshore wind energy, followed by Germany and China. The “Smart from the Start” initiative by the U.S. Department of Interior has supported a number of wind power projects. In the near future, China is anticipated to surpass the U.S. as the market leader for onshore wind energy. Prior to 2010, Europe was the largest region in the global onshore wind energy market. The region is still lucrative for the market players with countries such as Germany and Denmark actively investing in onshore wind energy projects. Recently, Siemens has been chosen as a partner to supply wind turbines for the Naundorf onshore wind power plant in Germany. The U.K., too, is focusing on onshore wind energy projects; the recent MoU between CS Wind U.K. and Vattenfall is expected to boost the onshore wind projects in the country.