The global offshore wind power market saw increased growth between 2009 and 2012. It is estimated that between these years, total wind power capacity grew by 20.4%, while wind energy installed capacity reached a CAGR of 24.6%. This saw an increase from 74.5 GW in 2006, to 279.2 GW by 2012. Economic crises in major wind markets, including the UK, Germany and Spain, saw the global offshore wind power market decline in growth during 2010, although growth in subsequent years have made up for this shortfall.
Wind power has become an important player in the global energy market, and the growth of the equipment market has created many employment opportunities. The exponential growth of the wind energy market has been fueled by the depletion of fossil fuel reserves, the declining cost of wind power generation, and a growing sensitivity for the environment, which has resulted in the provision of increased support in the form of financial incentives by various governments worldwide. China, the US, Germany, Spain and India are the major wind markets in the world, accounting for a 73% share of global cumulative installed capacity in 2012.
The growth of major wind power markets such as the US, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, India and China is expected to slow during the forecast period from 2013 to 2020. Emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific and South and Central America regions are expected to gain a considerable market share. Countries such as Thailand, Argentina, South Africa, Philippines, Ukraine, Brazil, Republic of Korea and Mexico are examples of nascent wind markets that are set to expand rapidly in the forecast period. Against this backdrop, the global wind power market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.3% to reach 658.4 GW between 2012 and 2020.
Offshore wind is being increasingly explored worldwide for its high yield due to stronger and more consistent winds compared to onshore locations, and the existing scope for the construction of large GW scale projects. Cumulative offshore wind energy installations currently form a small part of the global wind power market, accounting for a share of around 1.8% in 2012. Substantial potential exists for offshore wind to become a major source of energy in future.
Offshore wind power development is currently concentrated primarily in Europe, which accounts for more than 4 GW of offshore wind power capacity. With a number of large scale wind power projects expected to become operational in the near future, the offshore wind power market is set to register substantial growth. Large scale projects in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are scheduled to be completed in the near future.
Offshore wind power capacity increased from 0.8 GW in 2006 to 5.1 GW in 2012 at a CAGR of 36%. With large scale commercial offshore wind farms currently under construction and in the planning phase, offshore wind power capacity is expected to reach 54.9 GW in 2020, increasing from 5.1 GW in 2012 at a CAGR of 34.5%, led by the UK.
The UK is the global leader in offshore wind power, with a cumulative installed capacity share of 50.4% in 2011. Denmark is the second largest offshore wind power market with a cumulative global share of 16.9%, followed by Belgium, Germany and China with respective shares of 7.4%, 7.1% and 6.8%. The figure below illustrates offshore wind cumulative installed capacity by country in 2012.
The UK is the market leader in the field of offshore wind energy. The country possesses the largest offshore wind resources in Europe, with shallow waters and strong winds extending into the North Sea. The UK government has set a target for the achievement of 15% of energy to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020. Offshore wind power currently contributes around 2% of the UK's electricity supply. The UK government is committed to spending up to $158 billion in the UK renewable energy sector in order to achieve a low carbon, sustainable future in order to address climate change.
The future for offshore wind power looks promising in Germany, with the government providing attractive incentives in order to encourage the development of offshore wind power. The German government has set a target for the installation of 25 GW of offshore wind power by 2030 and 95 GW by 2050. By 2050, the government plans to be generating 80% of the total power required in the country from renewable sources, of which 50% is to be supplied by wind power.
The cumulative offshore wind power installed capacities in the UK and Germany are expected to reach respective totals of 20.5 GW and 8.0 GW by 2020 at CAGRs of 29.5% and 47.1% between 2012 and 2020.
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