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UK Projects Heading to Deeper Waters

Posted By Bahzad Ayoub, 30 June 2017

Developments in the Offshore wind sector have occurred at a high pace in a short amount of time. Innovations in the size of turbines has resulted in 7MW and 8MW turbines becoming the standard for new projects, with even larger turbines ranging between 9-10MW being developed. Array cables operating at 66kV instead of 33kV are also being implemented in new projects. These innovations have allowed for projects to move into deeper waters, as the use of larger turbines means more power can be produced from fewer assets, increasing the profitability of each wind farm against initial installation and ongoing maintenance costs.

Source: RenewableUK Project Intelligence 

The above graph shows RenewableUK’s forecast for the total capacity of projects that will be commissioned in Northern Europe between 2013 and 2022 by water depth. The graph shows that shallow water projects have been the dominant type of project and this trend is set to continue over the next five years. It is forecast that a total of 14,367MW worth of shallow water projects will be commissioned in Northern Europe. Although shallow water projects account for 77% of forecasted commissioning capacity, deep water projects are also forecast to account for a total of 6,182MW worth of commissioning activity, with 5,538MW of this activity taking places between 2017 and 2022.

Deep water projects are set to be installed at a steady pace over the next five years, with each year witnessing over 800MW worth of projects with only exception being 2021, which is forecast to have 437MW worth of projects being installed. However installation increase again in 2022, with this year accounting for 1,356MW worth of deep water projects.

Source: RenewableUK Project Intelligence 

The Northern European projects can be further broken-down country. Through this country analysis, the UK, Germany and Belgium appear as the only country’s in the region that have deep water projects. The above chart shows RenewableUK’s forecast for the total capacity of projects that will be commissioned in the UK between 2013 and 2022 by water depth. The UK has the largest global capacity of deep water projects, with a total of 3,638MW worth of projects that are forecast to be commissioned by 2022. Breaking down these projects by their status reveals that 1,247MW are currently under construction and a further 756MW are in the pre-construction phase. The move to deeper waters is a likely trend that will continue and allows the industry to utilise more potential sites to develop wind farms, as well as giving access to areas of stronger and more consistent winds that were previously inaccessible. 

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