Offshore wind is a relatively new technology, so costs will reduce and the technology will advance, helping offshore wind to be more efficient and cost competitive in the near term. But this exciting technology is already being incorporated into government’s energy planning around the world.
More than 90% of the world’s offshore wind power is currently installed off northern Europe, in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas, and the English Channel. Most of the rest is in two ‘demonstration’ projects off China’s east coast.
Offshore wind is an essential component of Europe’s binding target to source 20% of final energy consumption from renewables, and China has set itself a target of 30 GW of installations off its coast by 2020. The United States has excellent wind resources offshore, and many projects are under development, but there is no offshore wind power installed yet.
The key benefits of offshore wind are:
- The wind resource offshore is generally much greater, thus generating more energy from fewer turbines;
- Most of the world’s largest cities are located near a coastline. Offshore wind is suitable for large scale development near the major demand centers, avoiding the need for long transmission lines;
- Building wind farms offshore makes sense in very densely populated coastal regions with high property values, because high property values makes onshore development is expensive sometimes leads to public opposition.
Although offshore wind is often the most talked about part of the wind sector, today it represents less than 2% of global installed capacity. 2011 installations of about 1,000 MW represented ~2.5% of the annual market.
Our projections show that by 2020, offshore wind will be about 10% of global installed capacity.
See our latest articles on global offshore:
Current Status and Future Prospects. Potential for mass rollout, Energy and Environment Management Magazine, October 2012 (see full magazine here)