Offshore Wind Energy Development Analysis

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  • a picture of offshore wind turbine towers

Offshore wind energy is the hot area of research of global wind energy development. Many countries bring offshore wind energy development into their national renewable energy development plans. Therefore, there are many offshore wind farms(consists of several offshore wind turbine tower systems) have been established in recent years.

Global Offshore Wind Energy Development Status

According to the annual wind power statistics released by Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), by the end of 2016, the total installed capacity of global wind farms have been built is over 14,384MW. In 2016, the newly installed capacity has reached 2,219MW, with year-on-year growth of 18.2%. Moreover, the global offshore wind farm installed capacity is only 1.73% of world total wind farm installed capacity in 2011, but by the year of 2016, this number has reached 2.96%.

Table 1 2011-2016 Global Offshore Wind Farm Installed Capacity & the Shares (GWEC)

a table of global offshore wind farm installed capacity from 2011 to 2016

By the end of 2016, there are 14 countries have built offshore wind farms. Among these countries, Europe starts first, so there are 10 countries that owned offshore wind farms are European countries. In Asia, China, Japan and Korea are the three countries have built offshore wind farms. Also America offshore wind energy industry final start the first wind farm in 2016. As you can see, European district are still the leader of global offshore wind energy industry, and among all the European countries, British, Germany, and Denmark stand out.

Right now, British is the leader of global offshore wind energy development, British total offshore wind farm installed capacity reaches 5156MW by the end of 2016, which is 35.8% of world total offshore wind energy installed capacity. Also, the total offshore wind farm installed capacity of China reaches 1500MW, which is also a top 3 countries who owns the largest offshore wind farm installed capacity. In Asian-Pacific region, the offshore wind energy of Japan and Korea also have been progress in 2016, which makes the two countries step in the top 10 countries who owns the largest offshore wind farm installed capacity. But Portuguese trial offshore wind turbine systems which has the installed capacity of 2MW retired in 2016, which means there is no offshore wind farms running in Portugal. From the unit capacity of wind turbine tower systems, the upsizing of offshore wind turbine tower systems is the inevitable trend of offshore wind energy development. The unit capacity of the largest offshore wind turbine tower system which is developed by Vestas Wind Systems has reached 9.5MW.

a picture of offshore wind turbine tower systems

Chinese Offshore Wind Energy Development Status

According to the statistics released by China Renewable Energy Institute Wind Energy Committee (CWEA), the total offshore wind turbine systems have been built in China reaches 1620MW by the end of 2016. In 2009, the trial offshore wind farm near Donghai Bridge has been constructed and put into operation. In the following three years, two demonstrated offshore wind farms and their extension projects started in Jiangsu province, one of the wind farm has a installed capacity of 30MW, the other one is 150MW. By the end of 2012, the total installed capacity of Chinese offshore wind farms has reached 400MW. In 2013, China’s offshore wind farm development slows down because of the limit of the right to use sea area. In 2014, there are 200MW wind capacity which is created by offshore wind farms integrated into the state grid, and all these offshore wind farms are located in Jiangsu province. In 2015, China has newly installed offshore wind farm capacity about 360MW, which is mainly distribute in Jiangsu province and Fujian province. In 2016, China has newly installed 154 offshore wind turbine tower systems, the wind capacity reaches 590MW, with year-on-year growth of 64%. In China, the offshore wind energy installed capacity is only 0.42% of the total wind energy installed capacity in 2011, and five years later, the offshore wind turbine systems has an installed capacity about 0.96% of the total installed capacity of wind turbine systems.

Table 2 2011-2016 China Offshore Wind Farm Installed Capacity & the Shares (CWEA)

a table of china offshore wind farm installed capacity from 2011 to 2016

As the offshore wind farm scale keeps growing, all the major wind turbine system manufacturers starts to develop high-power offshore wind turbine systems, which includes high-power wind turbines, and higher wind turbine towers. As you all know, when the installed capacity of single wind turbine increases, the height of wind turbine towers also grows, and the length of wind turbine rotors increases, too.

By the end of 2016, among all the offshore wind turbine systems has been built in China, the largest installed capacity of single wind turbine is 4MW, and 45.5% of offshore wind turbine tower systems in China uses the 4MW wind turbines. 3MW wind turbine stays in the second place, and 14% offshore wind turbine tower systems in China uses this type of wind turbines.

a picture of wind farm

October 13th, 2017|Wind energy|