With a net addition of 754 wind turbines fully grid connected in 2015, the average machine size rose to 4.2 MW from 3.7 MW a year earlier as manufacturers continue to develop larger models with higher energy capture. Siemens continues to be the top offshore wind turbine supplier in terms of net annual installations. With 1,816.4 MW of new capacity connected Siemens accounts for 60 % of the 2015 market. Adwen (550 MW, 18.2 %), MHI Vestas (391.5 MW, 12.9 %) and Senvion (270.6 MW, 8.9 %) are the other turbine manufacturers who had turbines grid-connected in full-scale wind farms during 2015.
The report has mapped the safety regulations and standards that apply when approving ships as well as crew qualifications in the four offshore wind sectors:
- the United Kingdom
- the Netherlands.
Though the report shows that, in several areas, the countries have a common understanding of safety standards, the report points to the need to harmonise especially the safety standards applicable to offshore service craft for the carriage of wind turbine technicians. In addition, there is a need to harmonise the industry's own standards, especially as regards crews and wind turbine technicians, for example in connection with the transfer of persons between ship and wind turbine, as well as health examinations and safety training of especially wind turbine technicians.
Despite these positive attitudes towards offshore wind energy, when compared with other electricity sources in terms of perceived reliability and contribution to UK jobs, the offshore wind industry performs badly. The perceived minimal environmental impact of offshore wind farms is not sufficient to compensate for a perceived lack of reliability. Respondents identified a lack of public support as the most significant barrier to offshore wind farm development.
“We found that people were generally positive about offshore wind energy, but there were concerns about the planning process for offshore wind farms, which led to some distrust in developers. Understanding the complex nature of people’s perceptions of the offshore wind industry was something we needed to explore in more detail” said Drs Caroline Hattam and Tara Hooper.
Wind energy already plays a significant role in the European power sector. In 2014, the wind industry installed 11,791 MW in the EU - more than gas and coal combined. Today wind energy can meet 10.2% of Europe’s electricity demand with a cumulative capacity of 128.8 GW at the end of 2014.
Wind energy technology is today a mainstream source of electricity generation in Europe. Wind power plants across the continent are operating on a scale similar to traditional thermal power generation, delivering clean, affordable and reliable electricity to European citizens. The wind power produced in certain European countries can already cover significant portions of electricity demand for increasing periods of time.
An insights report by the Energy Technologies Institute
> With technology and supply chain development there is a clear and credible trajectory to delivering commercial offshore wind farms
> In water depths less than 30m fixed foundations will be the prime solution, in water depths over 50m floating foundations provide the lowest cost solution – a mix of these
Workshop Report: Marine transfer/access systems
G9 Offshore Wind - Health & safety Association
This workshop report draws upon outputs from the first G9 Safe by Design workshop held in September 2014. The workshop explored a number of key topics associated with the transfer of personnel from a crew transfer vessel to a transition piece (including design of the transfer connector, new designs in access systems and boat landing design).
In 2014, the Crown Estate asked the G9 to take over the running and delivery of their Safe by Design workshops. By bringing the Safe by Design workshops into the G9 work programme, the G9 aims to explore industry operations and technologies with a focus on Safe by Design principles.
Each G9 workshop will examine the current design controls relating to a particular topic, discuss where current design has potentially failed, identify opportunities for improvement and then seek to demonstrate the potential risk reduction to be gained from these new ways of thinking. The findings from each workshop will also be made freely available in reports which can be downloaded from the G9 website.
Subsidy schemes and tax regimes
TKI Wind op Zee, PWC
This report identifies the differences in subsidy schemes and tax regimes for offshore wind in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. The design of the subsidy and tax schemes determines the attractiveness for investors as it can change the risk profile and, therefore the cost of capital and levelized cost of energy (LCoE). A lower LCoE will lead to lower costs for society.
The TKI Wind op Zee (Top consortium for Knowledge and Innovation Offshore Wind) commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to conduct this study. The study has analysed two policy routes to make offshore wind projects more attractive to investors; through subsidies and/ or tax schemes. Both methods, if designed effectively, can reduce LCoE. Through risk shifting between public and private parties the cost of capital and LCoE can be optimised.
All subsidy and tax systems analyzed, have a low risk profile in general, as the feed-in tariffs and feed-in premiums are designed to ensure that investors obtain sufficient revenue. But there are differences in the schemes per country and those differences impact the risk level for investors.
Offshore wind power market in 2014:
> 408 new offshore wind turbines in nine wind farms and one demonstration project, worth between € 4.2 billion and €5.9 billion, were fully grid connected between 1 January and 31 December 2014. The new capacity totals 1,483.3 MW - 5.34 % less than in 2013;
> 536 turbines were erected during 2014, an average of 5.9 MW per day. 373 of these turbines are awaiting grid connection;
Cumulative offshore wind power market:
> 2,488 turbines are now installed and grid connected, making a cumulative total of 8,045.3 MW in 74 wind farms in 11 European countries;
> 78.8 % of substructures are monopiles, 10.4% are gravity foundations, jackets account for 4.7 %, tripods account for 4.1 %, and tripiles account for 1.9 %;
> There are also two full-scale grid-connected floating turbines.
Market outlook for 2015 and 2016:
> Once completed, the 12 offshore projects currently under construction will increase installed capacity by a further 2.9 GW, bringing the cumulative capacity in Europe to 10.9 GW.
> The average offshore wind turbine size was 3.7 MW, slightly less than in 2013 due to the increased proportion of installation of the Siemens 3.6 MW wind turbines;
> The average size of a grid-connected offshore wind farm in 2014 was 368 MW, 24.1 % less than the previous year. This is the result of the 2013 completion of the record breaking London Array (630 MW);
> The average water depth of wind farms completed, or partially completed, in 2014 was 22.4 m and the average distance to shore was 32.9 km.
Financing highlights and developments:
> Project finance is increasingly becoming an important tool in financing offshore wind. The industry raised € 3.14 billion of non-recourse debt in 2014 – the highest ever level reached in the industry;
> Nearly half of the final investment decisions made in 2014 were billion-euro projects, in total 2,323 MW of new gross capacity was financed;
> Partnerships are becoming a key to success, and as liquidity is back in the financial markets, developers will be more likely to align their interests with those of potential investors.
Cost Reduction Potentials of Offshore Wind Power in Germany
This study of Prognos AG and The Fichtner Group concludes that the cost of electricity from offshore wind energy can be reduced by about one third if it is consistently developed and growing over the next ten years. “The identified cost reduction potentials are based on the assumption that offshore wind power will be continuously developed and reach a capacity of 9 Gigawatt or more by the year 2023. This is the way to gain project experience, to promote technological innovation and to significantly decrease costs,” said Jens Eckhoff, President of the Foundation Offshore-Windenergie. Eckhoff continued: “Offshore wind power has a substantial cost reduction potential. However, the industry can only exploit this potential if there are reliable framework conditions to achieve significant market volumes.”
The study was commissioned by the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, Stiftung Offshore-Windenergie, together with associations and companies of the offshore wind industry.