Offshore: Global market study - Analysis forecasts offshore boom

Offshore wind power will have capacity to power 37 million homes by 2020, says an analysis of the global market.

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The analysis, by energy consulting firm ODS-Petrodata, predicts that, by the end of 2020, wind farm capacity will have grown to 55 GW. Current installed capacity is under 2 GW, the study says.

ODS-Petrodata based its analysis on its database of more than 700 offshore projects and proposals. More than $61 billion is required to fund the sector's planned growth to 2016, it says. Between 2016 and 2020 capital expenditure could exceed £120 billion.

"Although the credit crisis and other constraints have tempered the market there is clearly a huge business opportunity here," says David Gault, renewables manager at ODS. "These are big industrial projects and it will take lots of equipment, manpower and innovation to get them built. Now is a great time for companies in other sectors, such as offshore oil and gas to assess whether they can grab a piece of the action."

UK still top

The analysis confirms that the UK leads the way for both installed and planned offshore projects, but says the country may experience a downturn in activity in 2013 and 2014. Germany is likely to catch up and become the industry leader from 2014 onwards, the study predicts.

The report adds that the shortage of offshore turbine installation vessels could ease shortly if all of the vessels under construction and those in the design phase are built as planned, but this will depend on the availability of project finance.

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