July 15 - New analysis by the Worldwatch Institute shows that double-digit growth continued in the global wind energy market in 2013.
Of today's 318GW total generating capacity, 35GW was added in 2013 alone. However, this growth - a 12.5 percent increase over 2012 - was a significant drop from the average growth rate over the last ten years - 21 percent.
Overall investment declined slightly from USD80.9 billion in 2012 to USD80.3 billion in 2014, wrote Worldwatch in its latest Vital Signs Online trend.
In 2013, offshore wind capacity continued to see impressive growth as projects became larger and moved into deeper waters. Until recently, said Worldwatch, deep-water offshore wind has developed on foundations adapted from the oil and gas industry, but deeper waters and harsher weather have become formidable challenges requiring newly designed equipment.
Shipbuilders are expanding to make larger vessels to transport bigger equipment and longer and larger subsea cables to more distant offshore projects.
Such trends have kept prices high in recent years. As of early 2014, the levelled cost of energy (LCOE) for offshore wind power was up to nearly USD240 per MWh. By comparison, the LCOE of onshore wind installations in various regions of the world is under USD150 per MWh, having fallen 15 percent between 2009 and early 2014.
Onshore, wind-generated power is becoming more cost-competitive against new coal or gas-fired plants. Over the past few years, capital costs of wind power have decreased due to large technological advances, such as larger machines with increased power yield, higher hub height, longer blades and greater nameplate capacity.
Tighter competition among manufacturers continues to drive down capital costs, and the positioning of the world's top manufacturers continues to shift.
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