A really good article from Bloomberg on the unit cost reductions occurring in the offshore windfarm space:
Across Europe, the price of building an offshore wind farm has fallen 46 percent in the last five years — 22 percent last year alone. Erecting turbines in the seabed now costs an average $126 for each megawatt-hour of capacity, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s below the $155 a megawatt-hour price for new nuclear developments in Europe and closing in on the $88 price tag on new coal plants, the London-based researcher estimates.
Clearly, as the cost reductions started five years ago, some of this is all about economies of scale and the experience curve. But I am willing to wager a good chunk of the 22% reduction last year came from cheaper vessels for installation as the oil and gas vessels hunt for work.
In the UK the newer locations are in deeper water that theoretically should have increased installation costs but the major programmes are going ahead just as the vessel market hits its lowest point. Diving at 60m is SAT diving not air (Greater Gabbard I think?). A breakdown of the source of cost savings would be very interesting. But as I always say regarding shale versus offshore: be wary of betting against industries that can standardise and turn the output into a manufacturing process, as in the modern age this should lead to dramatic cost reductions (as we have seen with shale).
Oil and gas contractors hate offshore wind because the use civil contracting documentation, and as there is no first oil pressure rates are lower. But offshore wind could be an important source of vessel demand moving forward with productivity gains like this.