COPENHAGEN The global offshore wind turbine market is expected to almost double this year after record growth last year and is seen expanding briskly to 2015, Denmark's MAKE Consulting said on Wednesday.
Last year the offshore turbine market grew by 80 percent from 2008, with 620 megawatts of capacity installed and the total installed base rising above 2 gigawatts, the wind energy specialist said in a preview of a new report.
"2010 is expected to almost double the annual installed capacity with several large projects coming online primarily in northern Europe," MAKE Consulting said.
Offshore wind in Europe has taken off in recent years partly because offshore wind parks can overcome a "not-in-my-backyard" attitude among the public to onshore energy projects.
Manufacturers of offshore wind turbines include Germany's Siemens, Denmark's Vestas, China's Sinovel, U.S. conglomerate General Electric and others.
Wind parks on land generate the overwhelming majority of the world's wind energy.
"The offshore market is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43 percent between 2010 and 2015 and account for approximately 8 percent of the global wind power market in 2015," MAKE said.
The near term development will mainly take place in northern Europe, and offshore wind is expected to account for around 20 percent of European wind power installation in 2015, MAKE said.
"The global offshore project pipeline is rapidly expanding," MAKE said.
Britain and Germany have extensive project pipelines accounting for around 65 percent of current known projects in northern Europe, it said.
"Offshore activity in Asia is mainly driven by China, which is set to be the next large offshore market with South Korea in second place," the consultancy said.
The first offshore wind project has yet to be installed in the Americas, where current development activity is limited to the United States and Canada, MAKE said.
Swedish power company Vattenfall's 300 MW Thanet, inaugurated in September in Britain, is the world's biggest offshore wind park currently in operation, followed by two wind parks off Denmark.
But those projects will be superseded by the likes of the 1,000 MW London Array wind farm in the Thames Estuary, phase 1 of which is expected to be completed in time for the London Olympics in 2012.
(Reporting by John Acher; Editing by David Cowell)