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5 things to remember about Offshore Wind in Europe

Every year, WindEurope publishes its report on the evolution of the offshore wind sector. The conclusions for the year 2017 are impressive. Here are the five things to remember from this report:

1) In 2017, offshore wind energy capacity has increased by 25%

This is a record for the sector! It represents twice more than for 2016 and it is 4% higher than the previous record in 2015 according to the annual report of WindEurope. Thirteen new wind farms have been completed and the total capacity has increased by 3,1 GW; bringing the total offshore wind to 15.8 GW in Europe !


2) Germany and Great Britain are the two leaders on the market

This record could not have been beaten without Great Britain and Germany. Those countries are the two major actors for the offshore sector right now. Great Britain represents 43% of all the installations, followed by Germany with 34%. Denmark is third with 8% of the installations, then the Netherlands with 7% and Belgium with 6%. In fact, thanks to all this actors, the Europe concentrates 98% of the offshore wind turbines in the world.


3) France could become 4th in offshore wind capacity by 2030

Despite its long coasts and strong winds, France has inaugurated its first 2 MW floating offshore wind turbine called Floatgen, set up in testing mode, only this year… Still, WindEurope thinks that France will move up in the ranking of the offshore wind sector and reach its goal of 9 GW offshore wind capacity by 2030. Floating turbines are an advantage for France, which battles with heavy procedures concerning the landscape impact of offshore wind farms near the coast.


4) “Investing  in offshore wind isn’t more expensive than to invest in other more traditional way of energy production

This is what Giles Dickson, president of WindEurope has declared in this report to explain this spectacular growth of 25% for the sector. According to Wind Europe, 2017 broke all the records in terms of capacity investment with 11.5 GW which should emerge in the future and 6.7 GW of projects which are applying for permits. Yet the investments for 2017 are inferior to those of 2016, 7.5 billion compared to 18.2 billion in 2016. Many reasons could explain this decrease such as the reduction of cost which allows the investors to have more production capacity but cheaper. The transition to the auction system could also be a reason why prices are lower. Applicants must lower their energy prices to win contracts. For 2018, 9 billion € could be invested in this sector but for now, there is no information about government's’ ambition after 2020.


5) Monopiles are the most used type of support structure for the moment

Monopiles support structures represent 81.7% of all installed substructures in Europe.  But in 2017, two new types of foundation were introduced: floating spar buoys and floating barges. These new models are perfect to be implemented in deeper waters. As an example, Hywind Scotland, the first floating offshore wind farm in the world, is twice as deep as the other bottom-fixed offshore wind farms constructed in 2017. If there is a problem, they are also easier to replace or remove than fixed turbines. Their cost is higher for the moment but  is expected to decrease in the years to come.

 

In the near future, more and more floating offshore turbines will be installed. They allow developers to broaden the potential constructions areas. Strong moorings are required to fix them to the ground and these lines will be subject to a lot of environmental constraints, such as strong waves or potential storms. This is why project developers need to have a clear vision on the historical metocean conditions that the structures will face and therefore, to have a better approach to these environmental constraints. Open Ocean works with you through all the phases of your project, from site characterization to operation and maintenance, to ensure the smooth running of your offshore project.

 

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