More than £43billion is expected to be spent on new offshore wind installations over the next five years, according to a report by energy business advisor Douglas-Westwood.
Its World Offshore Wind Market Forecast 2012-2016 claims that the world will see new installed capacity amounting to 15 gigawatts over the period, averaging three gigawatts a year; up from 600 megawatts a year in the five years to 2011.
The report’s author, Frank Wright, said: “With more than three GW of offshore wind now installed globally and more than two GW currently under construction, offshore wind is becoming a mainstream power generation sector.
“The supply chain is experiencing a period of growth and is becoming increasingly differentiated from the onshore wind industry. With the sector moving into the industrialisation phase, major new opportunities are becoming apparent.”
Co-author Ian Jones said: “The UK, Germany and China will be the largest individual markets, which together will install over 80% of new global capacity.
“Both the UK and German markets benefit from a combination of attractive financial incentives, clear planning processes and a developing supply chain around the North Sea region.
“In the UK market, ever larger projects are helping to build momentum prior to the start of construction activity on Round 3 and Germany will start to see multiple commercial-scale offshore wind farms come online. Meanwhile in China, the government is aiming to stimulate another major industry, as seen recently in the case of onshore wind.”
Mr Wright added: “Offshore wind farms continue to increase in scale with current projects representing investment levels of 1.5billion euros (£1.27billion) or more.
“Escalating financial requirements will place pressure on project developers, whether they are global utilities or independents and consequently a risk-sharing approach is expected in the future.
“With several credible wind turbine options now available to project developers, supplier competition is increasing, although DW believe Vestas and Siemens will continue to dominate the market with their proven designs.
“Installation vessel capacity is also ramping up with a fleet of highly specialised construction vessels under construction in the Far East and Middle East for a combination of existing operators and new entrants.
“As the cumulative capacity of offshore wind continues to increase, operations and maintenance services will become an ever larger market.”