Wind turbine maintenance costs to almost double by 2020
The global maintenance expenditure on wind turbines - vital to productivity - is expected rise from $9.25bn in 2014 to $17bn in 2020.
That's according to a new report from consultancy firm GlobalData, which says the growth is driven by increasing numbers of installations and aging turbines.
GlobalData power analyst Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham said that operation and maintenance (O&M) work is vital to the commercial viability of wind.
"Regular O&M reduces the downtime of a turbine and optimises 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."
The report also reveals that the operation and maintenance (O&M) costs for offshore turbines are 2-4 times more than onshore.
As a result 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.
Nagatham said: "An onshore wind farm's O&M costs account for 10-15% of the total cost, rising to 25% in an offshore wind farm.
"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."
GlobalData analysts said the onshore wind O&M market was worth nine times its offshore equivalent in 2014, but the offshore market is projected to grow by 26% annually compared to 9% for onshore.
The offshore wind market as whole is set to boom in the next decade, with consultancy firm EY recently prediciting installed capacity to triple in Europe by 2024.
This growth is expected 'largely from the UK market', which already accounts for 55% of all European offshore capacity.