Offshore wind has a lot of things going for it. Whether it's less intermittency, a lack of NIMBY neighbors, or the sheer room to scale, we have good reason to believe that it will play an increasingly important role in electricity production around the world.
Until recently, however, there was one major drawback: price.
Here too, however, there's been progress. Just earlier this summer, for example, there was considerable excitement when DONG Energy delivered a tender for a Dutch wind farm with a strike price of €72.70/MWh, beating the industry's 2020 goal of €100/MWh by several years and more than €27. And now it looks like that particular bid wasn't an outlier, either.
In fact, Bloomberg is reporting that Vattenfall AB just delivered a tender to build two offshore wind farms, with a total capacity of 350 megawatts at €60/MWh—in other words 20% lower than the lowest ever bid set earlier this year! It'll be interesting to see if prices like these are the new normal. If so, we can fully expect the offshore wind industry, in Europe at least, to take off at a pretty rapid pace.
Meanwhile, the US is about to usher in its first commercial scale offshore wind farm. And while the 30 megawatt capacity pales into insignificance compared to the huge farms already operating elsewhere in the world, there's good reason to believe that it's a sign of bigger, better and cheaper things to come for this promising industry.