Cleantech industry bets big on offshore windpower

A new report from Pike Research confirms what the United States, Europe and even Google are banking on: offshore wind is going to be huge.

The cleantech market intelligence firm predicts that revenue from offshore wind power production will reach $104 billion by 2017, representing a 53 percent annual growth rate over the next six years. 

If growth is even more aggressive, offshore wind power revenues could reach $130.5 billion.

Wind power developers have long known that some of the world’s best wind resources are offshore, and many of the best locations for land-based wind farms have already been developed. 

However, the challenges of building offshore wind power plants are very different from those of land-based projects. 

Pike Research’s report, “Offshore Wind Power,” provides an analysis of global opportunities in the offshore wind power market, as well as key challenges facing the industry through 2017.

According to the report, roughly 70 percent of the cost of developing an offshore wind project is embodied not in the wind turbine, but other infrastructure, installation and maintenance costs. As Pike notes, the the cost of offshore wind generation can be two or three times higher than that for onshore wind.

The report profiles key industry players, including the United States, U.K. and Germany, and the emerging market in China. The largest markets for offshore wind will remain in Europe, which as a region will account for 75 percent of global installed capacity in 2017. 

Key technological innovations influencing the future direction of the market include a move toward larger wind turbines, new innovations for less expensive operations and maintenance, and a focus on high-voltage direct current transmission lines.

An executive summary of the report is available here.

* Lauren Craig, EarthTechling