Europe's Offshore Wind Energy Market Valued at £75bn Over the Next Decade

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The most recent offshore wind energy findings reveal that over the next 5-10 years Europe will be a booming market - worth in excess of £75bn - for all contractors involved in offshore wind energy. The Offshore Wind Energy in Europe conference looks to to address the challenges that threaten to hold this opportunity back.

The most recent offshore wind energy findings reveal that over the next 5-10 years Europe will be a booming market - worth in excess of £75bn - for all contractors involved in offshore wind energy.

The Oceans of Opportunity report recently published by EWEA gives detailed forward projections of offshore wind energy activity and economic analysis.

Based on the number of applications for the UK’s Round 3 zones and existing German, Danish and other infrastructure located in the Europe, it is the largest offshore wind energy producing region in the world.

No other region comes close to the installations that have been producing power from the strong North Sea and Baltic winds for the past 10-20 years.

While this market is not yet in the same league as the rapidly expanding onshore market in Europe, the value of offshore can’t be denied.

Throw in the challenges of construction, connection and operations and maintenance as well as access from either vessels or helicopter and the huge impact these stages have on cost and you have an annual industry worth between €377mn - €825mn.

This huge range is due to the fact that offshore wind energy is such an unpredictable activity. Any given project can be disrupted by a series of factors including site-specific conditions, inclement weather delays, data management or lack thereof, contract conditions and market rates.

It’s these types of figures that have made the EWEA, BWEA, BWE and the Major and Independent operators sit up and take notice.

RWE Innogy for example, arguably one of the largest operators in Europe, have just acquired a vessel company to bring their offshore wind energy installation in house.

As a result we are seeing new, tighter project feasibility studies being introduced and a more proactive approach to the activity that was previously seen as simply as a standard part of the process, something to be ignored and an unattractive business choice for vessel owners and engineers.

The recent high profile delays caused by missed reservation slots, increased costs due to poor foundation selection has meant a change in attitude has to be made and entire portfolios have to be assessed and ranked by risk exposure.    

A total of 199 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 577 MW were installed at eight new offshore wind farms and connected to the European grid during 2009.

This trend is expected to accelerate in the future as more shallow water structures are installed and deep-water production scales up.

In 2009, the turnover of the offshore wind industry was approximately €1.5 billion, and EWEA expects this to double in 2010 to approximately €3 billion. The question operators must ask themselves is do we have a strategy in place that can deal with this raid expansion?

If not, they could find they fall foul of the strict timeframes introduced by the Crown Estate and OFGEM.

  •     Making a wind farm bankable
  •     Increasing Insurance Premiums
  •     Risk Identification & Mitigation
  •     Selecting Appropriate Construction Partners
  •     Effective And Lasting O&M Strategy
  •     Offshore Wind Energy Grid Connection
  •     Offshore Access: By Sea And Air
  •     Deepwater Offshore Technology

Offshore wind energy structures are costly, technically challenging and potentially hazardous both to the workforce and the environment.

If the above costs are to be reduced then careful planning is required and common sense strategies must be put in place. In order to do that some of the following challenges must be faced.

The Offshore Wind Energy in Europe conference will discuss all these issues and more and can supply your business with the critical intelligence and tools you need to build a cost effective, time efficient offshore wind energy strategy.

With the Crown Estate, Vestas, Dexia, European Investment Bank, National Grid Offshore, Mainstream Renewable Power, Statoil, AREVA T&D, Principal Power, SKM, Siemens Wind Power and many others set to share their offshore wind energy experience. Find out more at http://www.windenergyupdate.com/wind-conference

All the figures in this article have been taken from the EWEA website and the EWEA Oceans of Opportunity report.

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Tom Evans
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