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Articles published in 2017

Offshore Wind Maturing Ahead of Schedule

Offshore wind power is on the cusp of exponential growth, with installed capacity set to nearly triple between 2015 to 2020.

This growth is being accompanied by marked cost reduction, with recent auction tenders suggesting that costs have fallen by 60 percent compared to 2010 levels. As a result, a new International Energy Agency’s Renewable Energy Technology Deployment report REWind Offshore highlights that industry cost targets for 2025 have been surpasses eight years ahead of schedule.

Following a year of record breaking auction prices in the Netherlands and Denmark, the study identifies the key success factors that have supported a burgeoning industry in Europe, drawing lessons learned for both policy makers and industry players.

The report, delivered through a collaboration between the Carbon Trust, Mott MacDonald and Green Giraffe, identifies several examples of best practice, underpinned by the need for political stability and visibility of market scale and support mechanisms. Notable recent policy trends include the introduction of competitive auctions and centralized development models, in which government bodies take on a greater role in the development process.

These trends are seen to be having a considerable impact on the risk profile for developers, with increased allocation and price risk countered by reduced development and technical risk. This is resulting in lower perceived risks from the finance community due to growing confidence in the ability of developers and the supply chain, with offshore wind increasingly considered an attractive investment opportunity for a more diverse range of actors.

Having been pioneered in a small handful of European countries, offshore wind is set to expand geographically, with considerable market growth forecast both within and outside Europe, particularly in East Asia and North America.

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New shipping routes along Belgian - Dutch (south) North Sea coast

As of 01 June 2017 00:00hrs UTC new shipping routes along the Belgian and Dutch (south) coast will apply. The North Sea is one of the busiest seas in the world (fishery, marine aggregate mining, oil & gas, renewable energy (wind/tidal), tourism etc) and to improve safety and flow of marine traffic, Belgian and Dutch authorities have together decided to adjust the shipping routes.

Smooth and safe passage for ships, taking into account both economic and ecological interests are priorities and current routing falls short.

The proposed routes include a new Traffic Separation Scheme, modifications of recommended routes and precautionary areas, changes to anchorages and reorganizing areas around existing wind farms.

The new routes will lead to safer and easier navigation reducing the risk for accidents and pollution.

Dutch and Belgian authorities have started a media campaign to inform all users, both international and national, commercial and recreational of the new routes. New maps are expected to become available April 2017.

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UK Offshore Wind Construction Had “Bumper Year In 2016,”

Construction in the UK’s offshore wind sector reached an impressive high in 2016, with total construction value set at £4.1 billion, increasing from £2.45 billion in 2015, and accounting for 21% of all UK construction contract value in the year.

New analysis from Barbour ABI, a leading provider of construction intelligence services, highlighted the “bumper year” the UK offshore wind sector experienced, from the point of view of the construction sector. Offshore wind farms accounted for 42% of all UK construction contract value in the utilities and power sector, and 21% of the country’s entire infrastructure sector.

Further, Barbour ABI predicts that this trend is only set to continue through 2017, with a healthy pipeline of future offshore wind projects set to make 2017 another strong year, and up to £23.2 billion worth of construction contract value already in planning.

“Back in 2013 offshore windfarms accounted for only 7.5% of the annual construction value for the utilities and power sector, which increased to 42% in 2016, on the back of significant investment in this type of project,” explained Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI. “With reports showing that the cost of producing electricity in this way have fallen significantly, the increase in construction value makes sense.”

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