Steady Growth Will Reduce the Cost of Offshore Wind Energy

In a study conducted by The Fichtner Group and Prognos it has been found that the cost of power generated by Offshore wind can be trimmed down by almost one third if there is a steady development over the next ten years.

The acknowledged potentials for cost reduction are based on the theory that offshore wind power will be steadily developed to achieve a nine Gigawatt capacity or more by 2023. This is the way to considerably lower the cost, advance technological innovation and to acquire project experience.

In a statement the president of Offshore Windenergie Jens Eckhoff said that “Offshore wind power has a substantial potential. However, the industry can only exploit this potential if there are reliable framework conditions to achieve significant market volumes.”

Stiftung Offshore-Windenergie, the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation together with companies and association such as Siemens, , Iberdrola Renovables Deutschland Offshore Zwei, and DONG Energy Renewables commissioned the study.

Said study analyzed the predictable development of electricity generation cost from offshore wind power up to 2023. For this end, two growth situations were used to evaluate three standard offshore wind farms sites in Germany.

The 1st scenario considered a constant market development and depicts the development of no less than 9GW capacity installed by 2023 in Germany. Under this scheme, the offshore wind power cost decreases by almost 31% on the average across all the sites up to 2023.

The 2nd scheme or scenario considers a most favorable market environment with a 14GW development up to 2023. Under this scheme, costs will be reduced by 39%. The chief driver for the reduction of cost is a continuous development of technology across the whole value-added chain. Principally with regards cost of investment, considerable savings can be had. The expenditure for support structures and added elements plus installation cost will drop. Using bigger turbines will reduce particular investment costs as the energy or power yield significantly increases. This is according to the co-author of the study Frank Peter of Prognos, a Swiss consultancy,

As shown by the study, the risks, plant operation and construction, and intensified experience in project planning – and consequently the cost of financing- can be trimmed down. Additionally, better logistics, for example, using the best infrastructure, and more powerful ships can definitely affect the offshore plant maintenance and operation costs. The study also showed that in an excellent market environment an intensified competition and enlarged serial production are contributory to the reduction of cost.

According to Eckhoff they already have several projects ready and waiting in Germany. He added that at present these projects lack the needed investment security. He said that the well-timed implementation of these projects is needed to promote more development of the industry and be able to use the gains from the early offshore wind farms of Germany. This is the way offshore wind energy can make a critical contribution to the energy supply of tomorrow.


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