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IRENA claims high growth potential for offshore wind

The International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) believes offshore wind could grow by up to 650 per cent (13 GW to 100 GW) over the next decade and a half, thanks to new innovations bringing the costs of development down.

The body points to larger turbine blades and more sophisticated floating platforms allowing farms to be built deeper offshore, where winds are stronger and yields are higher, as evidence for its findings.

On the back of that, IRENA predicts average costs for electricity generated by offshore wind farms will fall by 57 per cent over time, from $170 per MWh in 2015 to $74 per MWh in 2045.
Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of IRENA, said in a statement. “Now that onshore wind power is cost-competitive with conventional power generation technologies, more attention is shifting to offshore applications, characterised by high technical power generation potential.”

However IRENA say the potential needs government investment and regulatory certainty in order for potential to be realised, funnelling funding into technology innovation with adequate mechanisms in place to reduce technical risk and finance costs.

Earlier this week a RenewableUK report pointed to the health of the sector in Britain. The country’s offshore engineering firms, such as JDR Cables, First Subsea and MPI Offshore, have already won 115 contracts to provide services to 50 overseas offshore wind farms, taking a significant share of a market featuring 250 offshore wind farms currently in development globally.

Hartlepool-based JDR Cables won a major contract to supply cables to what will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm.

The company will design and manufacture nearly 250 kilometres of subsea power cables for Hornsea Project One, 120 km off the Yorkshire coast. When completed, this will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world with a capacity of 1.2 GW.