Market outlook for offshore wind

According to a recent report from US-based Pike Research, wind power installations will represent a US$153 billion global industry by 2017, almost the double of the US$77 billion in 2011. Over that period, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts, cumulative investment in new wind power capacity will total US$820 billion worldwide. Over that same period, total wind generation capacity, including both on- and offshore, will increase from 235.8 gigawatts (GW) in 2011 to 562.9 GW in 2017.

Using three scenarios - termed “Base”, “Dire” and “Aggressive” in order of probability - the analysis chooses a deliberately conservative approach, which it justifies by a need “to place a reality check on other industry estimates developed by trade associations and advocacy groups that have an agenda to forecast success.”

Specifically for offshore, the report points out that its long term fate will hinge on driving costs of energy (CoE) down towards levels of 0.10 US$ / kWh by 2030 and that this will require both intense efforts on new foundations and towers and more radical turbine innovations.

The report emphasises the rising role of Far Eastern countries. China’s offshore wind market alone is predicted to match that of leading EU countries already by 2017. In the report’s “Base” scenario, installed capacity by 2017 is predicted to be 12 GW for Asia Pacific (mostly China) vs. a bit more than 50 GW for all European waters combined.

At the highest level, Pike’s analysis expects three major regional markets will continue to drive the global wind industry: Asia Pacific, dominated by China and, to a lesser extent, India; Europe, led by Germany and Spain; and North America, led by the US. North American markets, in perspective, are not expected to take off until after 2017.

Illustrating the dynamic growth of new market entrants, the top 10 wind manufacturers supplied 79% of the wind turbines installed worldwide in 2010 – a significant drop from 88% only two years before.  The majority of these new entrants are based in China.  At the same time, numerous high-level mergers and acquisitions have resulted in more dynamic, vertically integrated wind turbine manufacturing companies.  Increasingly, manufacturers are acquiring wind farm development companies as a strategy for ensuring markets for their turbines.

Some material is available for download on

           Interinstitutional Style Guide at