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2016: 'pivotal year' for offshore wind

March 23 - Following a record year for the offshore wind industry, Douglas Westwood (DW) forecasts that there will be fewer capacity additions in 2016, but suggests that the level of projects entering construction and the diversity of locations expected t

Capacity additions will grow significantly post-2016, peaking at 9.2 GW in 2022, says DW. Both the UK and Germany will install over 10 GW each by 2025, resulting in a hive of offshore wind activity in North Sea - a draw for many participants in the local oil and gas supply chain, suggests DW.

Elsewhere, both the USA and South Korea are expected to commission their first offshore wind arrays this year, while China is forecast to install over 10 GW of capacity, which is lower than previous expectations but maintains the country as a key growth market.

This year will also mark a number of industry milestones, says DW in its latest World Offshore Wind Market Forecast. Decommissioning of offshore wind assets has begun with Yttre Stengrund in Sweden, while France and Taiwan are expected to begin construction on their first offshore farms.

DW claims that capital expenditure on projects that have passed the conceptual stage of development will total EUR200 billion (USD223 billion) between 2016 and 2025. There is potential for EUR70 billion (USD78.2 billion) more from projects currently under speculation or in the conceptual stages.

Offshore wind is still considered a costly power source by many, but DW says that costs are falling as larger turbine models and greater project scale combine to offer higher yields and improved operational efficiency.

This upsizing presents major challenges for installation contractors, said DW, adding that it has seen a rapid response from such companies through innovations in vessel design and construction methods. As the upsizing of components is anticipated to continue beyond 2025, heavy lifting and transportation providers could be required to provide even more innovative delivery and installation solutions.

DW's World Offshore Wind Market Forecast suggests that cumulative offshore wind capacity is forecast to reach 74 GW by 2025, driven mostly by developments in the UK, Germany and China. The analysis anticipates the installation of over 11,600 turbines, nearly 12,000 foundations and 38,000 km of cables from 2016 to 2025.

See more about the DW report here.

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