Global Wind Energy Insight: Offshore Breakthrough

Renewable Energy World

'A remarkable achievement,’ is the only thing I can say about where the European offshore wind industry finds itself today. It has taken a lot longer and cost a lot more money and effort than we thought back in the late ’90s, but the industry has exceeded its pricing targets by a significant margin and well ahead of the timeframe it set itself, i.e., less than €100/MWh (US$112/MWh) by 2020.

We now have another large-scale and cost-competitive renewable energy technology to add to onshore wind and solar (and of course hydro) with which to bring about the energy revolution in the power sector. Despite all the doubts that emerged over the course of the last decade as projects got larger and more expensive, and as offshore wind struggled to establish and ‘industrialize’ itself, those who have stayed the course are now in a position to reap the rewards.

Cratering prices, a new generation of machines, maturation of the supply chain and continuous improvement through experience have brought the European industry to the point where it can now supply competitively priced renewable power in very large volumes. A new Wind Europe report suggests that this could be 25 percent or more of Europe's electricity demand if key countries increase their ambition to the level required (at least 4 GW/year) to ensure the market volume needed to support continued improvements in the technology and the industry.

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