London, England — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 23 May 2011 – Even though the United States and China have taken serious steps to expand offshore wind farms, Europe leads this market segment today, and is expected to continue its good performance into the next decade.
According to a new report from the market research group Pike Research, global installed offshore wind power capacity is projected increase from 4.1GW in 2011 to 70.1GW in 2017, as grid operators, equipment manufacturers, governments and investors give offshore wind farms greater attention.
Peter Asmus “’ a senior analyst with Pike Research and author of the report “’ attributes Europe’s leadership primarily to public policy and a thriving wind energy industry. European Union legislation, he notes, mandates significant reductions of carbon emission, requiring, among other measures, a greater usage of renewable energy resources. In addition, some of the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers and engineering firms are based in Europe, providing a unique pool of expertise.
Asmus cites the United Kingdom as an example of Europe’s potential. The country has pre-approved 49GW of offshore wind capacity, worth a potential investment of US$100 billion.
“Of all the European nations, the United Kingdom has taken the most market-based approach to the development of its offshore wind resources,” he writes. “Yet it also offers the greatest level of government subsidy.”
Pike Research forecasts that 12GW of capacity in the United Kingdom will come online by 2017, representing a 42% compounded annual growth rate. Moreover, the research group expects the country “’ already the largest single offshore wind market in the world “’ to achieve revenue worth US$4.5 billion by 2017.
Germany is the other key EU market, according to the Pike Research report. Despite its limited coastline and the need to go to deeper waters, the country has significantly accelerated its offshore wind development, thanks also to favourable public policy.
The prime challenge for Europe, according to the report, will be to secure sustainable financing.
Fast on the heels of the UK and Germany is China, according to the report. Pike Research forecasts that China’s offshore wind market will pull even with Europe’s two largest players by the end of the forecast period in 2017.
By 2020, the Chinese government plans to increase the use of alternative non-fossil energy resources to generate 15% of the nation’s total energy consumption, according to the market research report. The county just completed the construction of its first wind farm, with a capacity of 102MW.