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Posted 11/03/2015

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EWEA Offshore: Report Calls For New Mindset


Do you know what you’re doing in ten years’time? No fixed plans? Well, the good news is you’re not alone. It’s challenging enough to plan for the next 30 days, when you take into account short-term deadlines and daily to-do lists.

For many, prioritising long-term actions doesn’t come naturally, and it certainly isn’t easy for those in a fast-growing and fast-changing market like offshore wind, where the immediate short-term pressures can be considerable.

So it’s all the more interesting that, as the industry gathers together this week at the EWEA Offshore conference in Copenhagen, the collective cry is to look a decade into the future at the long-term competitiveness of offshore wind.

Earlier this week, Ernst & Young published a study stating that the offshore wind industry in Europe must reduce costs by 26% over the next five years if it is to reach cost-competitiveness with conventional energy sources by 2023.

Key recommendations in this report include deploying larger turbines to boost energy capture (and cut project costs by 9%); fostering competition between industrial players (7%), commissioning new projects (7%); and tackling supply chain challenges like the need for more efficient installation equipment (3%). Dong Energy, MHI Vestas and Siemens are among those to back this call. 

If these recommendations are implemented then the report says offshore wind should be competitive with gas, coal and nuclear in the first half of the next decade. It’s a compelling prospect and, as the global energy market evolves, this is something that the European market much keep in the front of its mind. This will provide focus in a period when growth in offshore wind has slowed.

The challenge of course is in integrating these priorities into the mindset of those individuals working day in day out, on the front line.  And it’s precisely why industry trade body the European Wind Energy Association —which commissioned the report — keeps pushing the market to look ahead.

The EY report goes a considerable way to resetting that mindset and giving a collective goal that the industry can back. However, the ability of offshore wind to meet these ambitions will be wholly dependent on the willingness of those working within the market to change the way they think.

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