The market for wind energy continues to grow, and in the last six months an increasing number of turbine deals have been announced compared to the second half of 2015. During the first six months of 2016, global wind turbine orders from 11 vendors in 29 countries totalled nearly 13.5GW, with Vestas overtaking Siemens as the top vendor. According to a new report from Navigant Research, Vestas led all vendors in turbine orders received in the first half of 2016 with 3.5GW of awarded capacity. Vestas has signed deals in at least 16 different countries. Siemens, Gamesa, General Electric and Suzlon rounded out the top five vendors, with Suzlon more than tripling its capacity awarded in the first half of 2016 compared to the second half of 2015. In terms of turbine capacity awarded to regions, Europe retained its leading position in the first half of 2016, gaining 6GW from a handful of large offshore orders and a massive Norwegian project awarded to Vestas. North America and Asia Pacific continued to trail Europe, while Latin America saw a decline in capacity and the Middle East & Africa, taking fifth place, saw an increase.
Europe is still the biggest market for offshore wind but the US government has launched a plan to catch up quickly. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recently announced the publication of a collaborative strategic plan to continue accelerating the development of offshore wind energy in the USA. The plan, known as the ‘National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States’, could help enable 86GW of offshore wind in the USA by 2050. The strategy details the current state of offshore wind in the USA, presents the actions and innovations needed to reduce deployment costs and timelines and provides a roadmap to support the growth and success of the industry. The National Offshore Wind Strategy identifies key challenges facing the industry and more than 30 specific actions that the DOE and DOI can take over the next five years to address those challenges. These actions fall into the strategic areas reducing technical costs and risks, supporting effective stewardship and improving the market conditions for investment in offshore wind energy.
Right now there is just one commercial offshore wind farm being built in the USA: Block Island Wind Farm, 3 miles (about 5 km) off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, featuring five GE Haliade turbines. But the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has already proposed offshore wind leases in several states so with the right conditions, such as a sufficient supply chain (from manufacturing till installation) and consistent support from government, the US market could develop itself really quickly. If you want to learn more about the US offshore wind market you may want to attend AWEA’s Offshore Windpower event, which will be held in Warwick, Rhode Island, from 25 to 26 October.