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The offshore wind industry is growing fast but faces major challenges in delivering large scale projects while at the same time cutting costs as developers look for new sites in deeper waters further offshore, according to a new IHS Emerging Energy Research report published.

The sector faces a “make or break” window until around 2016 when it needs to cut costs or it could face a rapid decline as a non-competitive technology, said the report, Global Offshore Wind Energy Markets and Strategies: 2012 – 2025. Most projects are built at the moment within a relative “comfort zone” of up to 30 metres in depth and at 30 kilometres distance from the shore, but these developments will soon have to move out to deeper waters as easier sites get tapped. In the study, IHS forecasts that global offshore wind investment, including transmission, is set to climb nine-fold between 2011 and 2025, rising from US$ 6 billion to US$ 52 billion. The global offshore market is expected to reach nearly 95GW of installed wind energy capacity by 2025, compared with 4.2GW at present. Europe will continue to lead the offshore wind market, with the UK and Germany both installing more capacity than China over the forecast period. China leads the offshore charge in Asia, with more than 300 MW of installed capacity as well as aggressive targets and large projects in the pipeline.
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