Find out how investors can speed the transition to offshore wind power.
The overall cost of wind power has steadily decreased over the last two decades, while the wind power industry has expanded more than 20-fold during this time. As wind power (both onshore and offshore) is the cheapest low-carbon energy source, wind projects are set to scale up significantly to meet future energy needs. Wind turbine power generation increases eightfold for every doubling of the blade length of a wind turbine, while the cost of the turbine increases by less than double. Therefore, the future of wind power will be found in offshore environments, which can accommodate much larger turbines without being hampered by planning and design constraints imposed on onshore wind farms.
To speed the successful transition to offshore wind power, investors and governments need to overcome a number of technical and financial challenges. It is necessary to adopt business models that favour the development of wind energy technology. Because investment in wind power projects is typically front-loaded, focused on equipment rather than fuel, the initial investment is comparatively higher than in other power projects. Investment support for wind power projects should take the front-end costs into consideration while also promoting research and development of more efficient wind turbine technology.
Wind power projects can also benefit from better project risk management reliability and improved project implementation. Since turbine improvements have a major impact on the cost effectiveness of wind power, the risk profile of projects should be redistributed more favourably for equipment providers. Wind energy projects should also take into account lessons learned about in-service technology upgrades, maintenance planning and other long-term considerations.
Most importantly, offshore wind power needs to achieve mass-market acceptance. Wind power stakeholders should find ways to drive public support of wind power by demonstrating the benefits to the local area, such as job creation and government economic support tied to wind power.
Stakeholders require a clear understanding of the risks and optimal practices in offshore wind projects. Third-party service providers should be selected for their expertise and expertise in wind energy, throughout the project lifecycle. The right choice of an independent service provider will help stakeholders to maximise return on investment and achieve an efficient implementation of offshore wind projects.