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Big potential for US offshore industry and China back on track

The AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER 2014 Conference & Exhibition, which will run from 7 till 8 October in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is the largest offshore wind energy event in North America. Although no offshore wind farm has yet been installed in the USA, the future for the offshore industry looks promising. The US Energy Department has recently announced a new report, Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis, showing steady progress for the US offshore wind energy industry over the past year. The report highlights 14 projects in advanced stages of development, together representing nearly 4,900MW of potential offshore wind energy capacity for the USA. The report also finds that globally, developers continue to build offshore wind projects further from shore in increasingly deeper waters, while increased turbine sizes and hub heights enable higher efficiency and output from turbines. Worldwide, the average capital cost for offshore wind projects completed in 2013 fell 3.7% per kilowatt-hour from 2012, with an additional decrease expected in 2014. Total project installation costs have fallen 6% since 2011.

The Energy Department has also announced the first National Offshore Wind Energy Grid Interconnection Study, prepared for the Department by the ABB Group. The study investigated the key economic and technological factors that will influence the integration of offshore wind energy onto the national grid. The findings suggest that the USA has sufficient offshore wind energy resources to enable installation of at least 54GW of offshore wind capacity and that the appropriate transmission technologies already exist to connect this offshore wind energy to the grid. With projects in advanced stages of development, lease auctions in several states, and additional government funding for advanced technology demonstration projects, the US offshore wind energy industry is picking up speed and momentum, but as in Europe it might take a while before the offshore industry really takes off.

China Wind Power 2014
The eighth edition of China Wind Power will take place from 22 to 24 October 2014 in Beijing, China. China Wind Power is jointly organised by GWEC, the Chinese Wind Energy Association (CWEA) and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA). The past year has been a good year for wind power given the government's focus on clean energy and constraints on coal development. At the end of June, the government also issued a feed-in tariff for offshore wind, which is gradually starting to take off. A reflection of the industry's turnaround in China is seen by the 19% increase of exhibition space, with more than 600 exhibitors at this year’s edition. China’s renewable energy capacity increased from 27.8GW in 2001 to 183GW in 2013, and alternative sources are expected to account for more than 20% of the country’s total electricity generation by 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Floris Siteur

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