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When will offshore wind become a real global market?

EWEA Offshore is a biennial event that unites the whole of the wind energy value chain under one roof. The event attracts thousands of offshore wind energy professionals from Europe and beyond including manufacturers, developers, operations and maintenance, and logistics and installation. This year the event is happening in Copenhagen between 10 and 12 March. Globally, offshore wind is still in an early stage of development. Most of the capacity installed (8.7 GW) is in Europe, in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas. The only other substantial market is in China, although there are developments in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, as well as early movement in the USA.

For example in Japan Marubeni plans to build two offshore wind farms with a combined capacity of 145MW off the northern prefecture of Akita (65MW near the Akita port and 80MW near the Noshiro port). The wind farms are expected to begin operations as soon as 2021. In 2014, the Japanese government implemented a higher, separate tariff for offshore wind projects to encourage growth.

Furthermore, Jeju Energy has announced plans to build an offshore wind farm with a total capacity of 100MW on South Korea's Jeju Island by 2020. The company will also expand its land-based wind projects on the island. According to the company the goal is to make Jeju Island carbon-free.

Recently the US Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held the nation’s fourth competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters offshore of Massachusetts for potential wind energy development. According to an analysis prepared by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, if fully developed the area leased could support approximately 2GW of commercial wind generation. Prior to this lease sale, BOEM had awarded five competitive wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast (two offshore Massachusetts–Rhode Island, two offshore Maryland and another offshore Virginia) and it expects to hold another competitive lease sale offshore New Jersey later this year.

GWEC has projected that by 2020 offshore wind will be about 10% of global installed capacity. Onshore wind has matured over the years and become competitive with other energy sources. Offshore wind has not reached this stage yet. As with all new technologies, the capital costs are high, and there is still a great deal of technical and management learning required to bring costs down to competitive levels. In this issue we present two articles related to technical developments for the offshore market. On page 22 AdBm Technologies, working with WPD and Ballast Nedam, demonstrates its new underwater noise abatement system during pile-driving operations in the construction of the Butendiek Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea. And on page 27 Dr Azadeh Attari and Dr Paul Doherty from GDG, Ireland, investigate the feasibility of self-buoyant concepts for foundations.

EWEA Offshore offers a range of conference sessions and networking events which provide the opportunity to source new suppliers, find business partners or catch up on new developments. I hope to see you there but if you cannot make it we will keep you updated on new developments in future issues.

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur

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