Offshore Wind Could Meet 14% of Europe’s Energy Demand by 2030, Leveraging $193 Billion in Investments

The European Union, long the global leader in offshore wind, will likely stay that way for the next decade — even with the fast-growing wind market in China catching up.

That’s according to new figures released by Europe’s wind trade group, the European Wind Energy Association. In a report issued earlier this month, EWEA projects that the European offshore wind market will grow from 3.9 gigawatts of capacity today to 40 gigawatts of capacity, generating roughly 148 terawatt-hours of energy annually — or about 4% of Europe’s electricity demand. By 2030, cumulative installation levels could reach about 150 GW — enough capacity to generate roughly 14% of European demand.

That compares to the 30 GW of capacity expected for China’s offshore wind market by 2020, as projected by the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

Assuming these projections are accurate, the employment numbers could be substantial. EWEA estimates that 40% of jobs in the European wind industry will be offshore by 2020, accounting for just under 170,000 jobs. And if recent growth is anything to judge by, a major boom in offshore projects through the next two decades is very likely.

Like many other energy sectors, the offshore wind industry was slowed by the global economic malaise and subsequent European Debt Crisis. But even during three years of economic troubles, offshore wind projects have grown substantially, from 318 MW in 2007 to 883 MW in 2010. Offshore installations are expected to reach roughly a gigawatt this year.

That doesn’t mean the sector is completely dry yet. The evolving debt crisis is may create yet another bottleneck into 2012 and 2013, says Christian Kjaer, the CEO of EWEA:

“The sector is coming out of the financial crisis but is still facing a potential worsening of the general economic crisis. The number of banks providing capital for offshore wind farm investments is steadily growing, although there is a continued need for attracting an increasing number of large institutional investors to offshore wind farms – presently the largest construction projects going on in Europe.”

Investors are increasingly seeking equity investments in projects, selling off stakes in offshore projects to develop new wind farms. And while no debt-based transactions were completed in the first half of this year, there are at least 900 MW of projects currently nearing closure.

Meanwhile, China is starting to keep pace with the Europeans. Developers in that country reportedly have about 1 GW of projects in varying phases of development.

Need we remind our readers that after ten years, America’s first offshore wind project — the 420-MW Cape Wind Project — is still stalled?

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5 Responses to Offshore Wind Could Meet 14% of Europe’s Energy Demand by 2030, Leveraging $193 Billion in Investments

  1. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    There is a rather good report in The Guardian today, concerning Osbourne’s economic statement, and the final repudiation of the Tory lie that they would be ‘the Greenest Government ever’. Now, being gifted with extraordinary clairvoyance, gained by real world experience and reinforced over and over with NO exceptions so far, I knew that this was a GBTL (not GLBT)or ‘Great Big Tory Lie’, and so it has transpired. Apparently Osbourne was quite sneering and openly contemptuous of various ecological initiatives, revealing the archetypal Rightwing perspective when it comes to the natural world (or any thing else ‘other’ to themselves)-naked and febrile contempt and revulsion. What’s more, I think it is plain that the concatenation of the abject failure of the market fundamentalist economic paradigm, the decline of the West and the rise of the East and the increasingly rapid turn of climate destabilisation, has begun to unhinge the global ruling Rightwing elite. As they are unfit, intellectually or morally, to learn from experience, but exist in a world of magical thinking, where the laws of physics and economics simply follow orders, brute reality is always answered by brute force. Everywhere, in geo-politics, environmental policy and socio-economic affairs, they are doubling-down on their bets. Repudiate Kyoto, nuke Tehran, launch new waves of class war directed at the 99% while giving even more money to their mates (and friends, family and old school-chums) in the 1%.Anything it takes to retain mastery, deny reality and drive on to greater triumphs. Strange days, indeed.

  2. Mark Shapiro says:

    SIemens just introduced a 6 MW offshore wind turbine, with direct drive and lighter blades. That pushes the envelope.

    Clean energy keeps improving.

  3. Barbara Durkin says:

    Very well stated, Mulga. Indeed. This is religion we’re talking about. There is confusion regarding the beneficiaries, most frequently the architects of wind energy mandates, the Renewable Portfolio Standard RPS as example, enjoy associated public subsidies, loan guarantees and grants for mandated goods and services they sell and offer. The debt shuffling and shell corporations echo ENRON business practices. Solyndra at $ .50 Billion is an opening act for SunPower (selling short) as a $ 1.25 Billion lost bet.

    Cape Wind spec’d Siemens 3.6 MW wind turbines, (monopiles) newly installed, are sinking, shifting with its gearbox corroding. Yet, citizens are entitled to “reliable” energy sources under M.G.L. and the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

    Cape Wind 1/2 energy under NGrid contract is 3 x current cost of energy to make our energy source less reliable.

    So, it’s not about public interest. It’s about public subsidies for failing technology.

    Offshore wind drivetrains account for windturbines out of commission 39%:
    Windturbine Drivetrains – Reliability and Serviceability
    July 25th, 2011

    Recharge: 8/13/10 Siemens hires vessel to tackle turbine corrosion
    The 3.6MW turbines being assembled in Siemens’ factory at Brande, Denmark, before being shipped to Burbo Bank
    Siemens Wind Power has discovered significant problems with the corrosion protection of pitch bearings in its 3.6MW offshore turbines, and has contracted the MPI Resolution jack-up vessel to carry out a major maintenance campaign, Recharge has learned.

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Barbara there are undoubtedly great advances being made, and the future is not entirely black, just 99% or so. But, what will it benefit us if, by some miracle, we save ourself from the flotilla of calamities heading our way, if the same psychopathic elite who caused this disaster and have done so much to prevent remedial action, are still in charge of the planet? All our disasters, the ecological, economic, demographic, resource depletion and geopolitical are, in my opinion, mere symptoms of the bedrock malaise-the dominance in human society of the worst amongst us. Until we reverse that situation, once and for all, our fate is sealed and the only question remaining is when will the axe finally fall?

  5. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    Yes. Offshore Wind farms are established field in Renewables in UK,Germany,Denmark etc., Also US,China,France,South Korea,Taiwan have big plans to go in for Offshore Wind Farms.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India