MAKE: Offshore to shift East

Europe will add 25GW of offshore wind capacity between now and 2020, by which time much of the market momentum will have shifted to Asia, predicts market researcher MAKE.

After a period of deep uncertainty within the UK and German markets, European demand is “set to stabilise”, says MAKE, adding that the outlook beyond 2020 is far murkier.

The UK’s Contracts for Difference scheme, and the recent extension of Germany’s compression model for its offshore wind feed-in tariff, “have allayed fears and renewed investor confidence in the medium-term”, MAKE says.

The 25GW prediction is more optimistic than the view many have taken of the offshore wind market in recent months.

Germany recently downsized its 2020 offshore wind ambition to 6.5GW, while the British government now expects the UK to have about 8GW of capacity in the water by the end of the decade.

The average capacity of turbines installed offshore will jump from 3.8MW last year to nearly twice level that by 2017, as the next generation of machines is brought to market by the likes of Areva, Alstom and the new Vestas-Mitsubishi joint venture.

Jackets will overtake monopiles as the dominant foundation type by 2016, while HVDC export cables will dominate from 2017, MAKE predicts.

While Europe will remain the world’s key offshore wind market through 2020, “China is expected to race ahead and spearhead development towards the end of this decade and beyond”.

Note: Amends earlier version to clarify 25GW goal refers to Europe