The global wind turbine foundations market registered a market value of $5.7bn in 2017 and is expected to reach $7.2bn in 2022, largely driven by renewable energy auctions, supportive government policies, decreasing operations and maintenance costs, and feed-in tariffs, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The company’s latest report: ‘Wind Turbine Foundations, Update 2018’ states that the global onshore foundation market value is estimated to reach $3.05bn in 2022. Likewise, the annual offshore foundations market value is expected to reach $4.16bn in 2022.
Most offshore wind installations globally to date have used monopole foundations, which are cylindrical structures driven into the seafloor and attached to the bottom of the wind turbine tower. However, offshore wind turbines are getting larger, complicating the use of monopile foundations. As offshore wind projects move further from shore, jacket structures, which typically consist of four legs connected by braces, are becoming more common as they use a lattice structure to support the weight while using less steel.
During the forecast period, 98,750 foundation units are estimated to be installed in the onshore wind foundation market and 5,449 units in the offshore wind foundation market, which represents installations with respect to capacity that are currently at the construction and permitting stages.
China is the largest manufacturing hub for wind turbines and its components. Between 2018 and 2022, it is estimated that the onshore foundations equipment market will reach $865.2m in the country. Likewise, the offshore foundations equipment market is estimated to reach $504m during the same period.
Currently in China, high-rise pile caps and monopiles are the most popular foundation choice, but a variety of foundations, including jackets, multi-piles, gravity bases, and suction bucket foundations have also been installed, with most foundations having been deployed in intertidal zones. While the intertidal zone has provided a useful testing ground for different foundation types, there is a clear need to test more foundations offshore in order to identify which are most appropriate for Chinese waters.
The US is the only country in the Americas region that had offshore wind power installed, as of 2017. More than 58% of US offshore wind is located in areas with deep water where conventional structures such as transition piece or monopile foundations are not being used. Hence, in order to account for this condition, US companies are developing innovative floating offshore wind platforms for use in deep waters which will help in providing a market for innovative offshore wind projects in the US.