Global offshore windpower survey

The offshore wind power industry has some way to go to prove it can take its place as a sustainable part of the energy mix. Cost and technological track record remain major challenges. For example, despite support for major expansion in Europe’s North Sea, government bodies are split between positive and negative sentiment about offshore wind power.

In Offshore Proof, we look at this and other challenges, getting the views of the major players who are central to determining the pace of growth of the industry. We speak to developers, contractors/original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), utility companies, government bodies and financial institutions. We gather industry data on the roll-out and performance of offshore wind generation so far. We discuss some of the main challenges that developers and contractors are facing. Finally, we look at the ‘make or break’ issues that will determine how quickly offshore wind will move from infancy to maturity.


Hans ten Berge, Secretary General of Eurelectric, presents the Global Renewables Market Overview. Watch webcast now
Paul Nillesen, PwC Renewables leader, presents the Global offshore windpower survey. Watch webcast now

Interesting observations from this report:

The prospects for offshore windpower look bright, according to many of the governnment respondents to our survey. Three-quarters are reasonably confident that it will play an enduring part in the energy mix in the coming 20 years and three-fifths expect it to be economic without subsidies within 15 years.

The biggest challenge facing the industry is to bring costs down to a range where offshore windpower can compete in the energy mix with little or no subsidy. But the outlook among contractors/OEMs for cost reductions is mixed. The greatest expectation is of a cost decrease in real terms (42% of respondents) but many do not foresee any reduction and, indeed, a quarter actually forecast cost increases.

Bottlenecks and supply chain constraints mean supply chain management is a major challenge facing developers. Nearly all of the developers we surveyed said supply chain capacity constraints are a significant problem for offshore wind construction to such an extent that 82% said they create the risk of a seller’s market.

Offshore windpower risk perceptions are improving. Nearly two-thirds of the European financial institutions we surveyed say offshore windpower investment risk has reduced in the past two years. Only a small percentage (9%) thought that the risks had increased.

Preview some charts inside this report

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Promise, performance, and costs


Make or break issues

Government confidence in offshore windpower
What is the forecast for construction costs and turbine prices in the next 5 years?
What are the main risks associated with funding offshore windparks, according to financial institutions in Europe?
Are developers finding downtime greater or less than expected?
Based on past experience, what changes can be anticipated for new projects?
According to European power companies, what areas need the greatest improvement for governments to improve offshore wind grid access?
What are the average costs per megawatt in recent projects?
How do European financial institutions rate the investment potential of offshore windpower compared to other energy sectors?
Interaction between the offshore windpower sector and the government: what needs improving?
Did the actual and projected budget costs differ?

Global review of offshore windfarms in operation

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