With wind energy capacity growing at a rapid pace, the value of the operations and maintenance (O&M) market is expected to increase from $3 billion in 2008 to $19 billion by 2020, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.
According to the company's latest report*, more than 191 GW of wind power capacity was added between 2008 and 2012, which has drastically increased O&M expenditure from $3 billion to $7 billion in the same period, demonstrating a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.6%.
Offshore wind energy will continue to attract higher O&M costs in comparison to onshore wind, reaching a market size of $5 billion, or a 29% share of the total O&M market in 2020.
Currently, the US is the largest O&M market in the world, but GlobalData expects that China will surpass it to become the leader in O&M expenditure, with a 24.7% share of the market by 2020.
Prasad Tanikella, GlobalData's Senior Analyst, says: "Higher turbine maintenance, high logistics costs and a lack of skilled manpower make offshore wind services more challenging than the onshore equivalent. Although onshore wind also faces similar issues, the impact of these factors on the offshore segment is more significant."
According to the report, the growth in the wind industry's O&M cost is largely due to the increasing age of wind turbines and the failure of components such as blades and gearboxes.
"This increase in market size is leading to a rise in the number of companies providing specialized wind turbine O&M services, which is in turn bringing the benefit of lower costs to consumers," concludes Tanikella.
*Wind Operations & Maintenance Market, 2013 Update - Global Market Size, Share by Component, Competitive Landscape and Key Country Analysis to 2020.