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Wind turbine operations, maintenance expenditure to rise, says GlobalData


March 19, 2015 – The global expense for wind turbine operations and maintenance (O&M) will rise from $9.25 billion in 2014 to an estimated $17 billion by 2020, according to a new report from research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The increase will be driven by growing numbers of installations and aging turbines, said GlobalData.

“On average, offshore O&M is two to four times more expensive than onshore O&M. Offshore wind power accounted for about 2.4% of the world’s cumulative wind power capacity in 2014, but accounts for approximately 10% of the global wind O&M market,” stated the report.

Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham, one of GlobalData’s analysts, said that a wind farm’s O&M is essential as it contributes to value creation, increases turbine availability and boosts returns.

 “Regular O&M reduces the downtime of a turbine and optimizes electricity generation, which leads to an increase in revenue. In optimal conditions, O&M activity guarantees a useful life of 20 years for a wind farm, which is further extended through improvements and adaptations during the later years of its lifecycle,” Nagatham said.

A wind farm’s O&M costs account for 10-15% of the total cost of power generation in an onshore wind farm and 25% in an offshore wind farm, he added.

“Offshore wind maintenance is more expensive as it requires specialists to lift and install components during repairs and general maintenance, while accessibility for scheduled O&M work can be hampered by harsh weather conditions,” Nagatham said.

While the onshore wind O&M market was valued at over nine times that of its offshore equivalent in 2014, Nagatham said it’s important to note that the offshore arena is set to expand at a much faster rate over the forecast period.

“The global onshore wind O&M market is forecast to grow in value from $8.34 billion in 2014 to $13.43 billion by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.2%,” Nagatham explained.“However, the offshore wind O&M market value will increase at a rapid CAGR of 26%, from an estimated $0.91 billion in 2014 to $3.57 billion by 2020, boosting its share from 9.8% to 21%.”