Wind Turbine Decommissioning Market: Overview

  • Wind turbine decommissioning is the process of removing all wind turbines and returning the land to its original condition. Decommissioning of wind turbines is outsourced to companies that are required to disassemble the wind turbine from the surface of the land entirely.
  • Once a wind turbine reaches the end of its life cycle, the owner of the wind turbine either decides to decommission or repower the facility. Power generation from the wind turbine ceases after it is decommissioned and subsequently, the site is dismantled accordingly.
  • It usually becomes difficult to find replacement of wind turbine parts after it has reached the end of its useful life (life for which it produces desired amount of power). Moreover, the components may begin to degrade or fail at a rate that becomes too expensive to maintain. It can be considered as the end of the business case or the end of a power purchase agreement, and the owner closes the project by decommissioning the wind turbine.
  • In decommissioning of wind turbines, the wind farm owner is primarily responsible for end-of-life arrangements and costs. Governments across the globe have a varied approach to decommissioning requirements, and the wind industry has to comply with the stated requirements as an integral part of the project.


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Key Drivers of Global Wind Turbine Decommissioning Market

  • In decommissioning, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) remains relatively unaffected. The LCOE for wind power generation includes the installation costs and the capacity factor of energy production. However, new innovations and developments in wind power systems have improved the efficiency of power generation and resulted in reduction in LCOE due to reduced capital cost. This is likely to boost the wind turbine decommissioning services market
  • The world is shifting toward the use renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal, in order to achieve development in an environmentally sustainable manner. Consequently, there has been a huge increase in investments in the renewable energy sector. This, in turn, is projected to augment the demand for use of wind turbine decommissioning in the near future.
  • Ambitious national targets, rapid technological advancements, and international agreements have prompted countries across the world to turn toward the renewable energy sector and upgrade their power infrastructure. This, in turn, is expected to augment the global wind turbine decommissioning market between 2020 and 2027.

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Restraints of Global Wind Turbine Decommissioning Market

  • The cost of decommissioning wind turbines is significantly high. For instance, Xcel Energy estimates conservatively that it would cost US$ 532,000 to decommission each of its wind turbines, which in turn could hamper the wind turbine decommissioning market.
  • Materials that cannot be recycled are simply dumped into landfills. This increases the amount of solid waste generation, thus adding to the global waste. This, in turn, poses challenges to the global wind turbine decommissioning market.

Major Developments

  • In January 2020, The Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) drafted a new market analysis on offshore wind energy and decommissioning in the scope of the INTERREG-North Sea project. They revealed that offshore wind energy is expected to offer significant opportunity to manufacturers of these facilities. Europe has a chance to set the global standard in terms of decommissioning of facilities at the end of their lifespan.
  • In 2018, 421 megawatts of wind power were decommissioned in Europe, out of which most turbines decommissioned were from Germany (249 megawatts), followed by the Netherlands (72 megawatts), Austria (29 megawatts), Greece (15.4 megawatts), Portugal (13.7 megawatts), Sweden (13.3 megawatts), Denmark (12.7 megawatts), France (12.6 megawatts), and Finland (3 megawatts).


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Europe to Hold Major Share of Global Wind Turbine Decommissioning Market

  • Based on region, the global wind turbine decommissioning market can be classified into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
  • Europe is expected to be a key market for wind turbine decommissioning, globally, from 2020 to 2030. High investments in renewable energy generation and government subsidies are likely to drive the market in the region between 2020 and 2030
  • Europe is also considered as a pioneer in offshore wind energy and is home to the oldest offshore facilities. This offers significant opportunities to players in the decommissioning sector of offshore wind turbines.
  • The wind turbine decommissioning market in Middle East & Africa is estimated to expand at a significant rate during the forecast period, owing to extensive agricultural land and attempts to reduce the use of fossil fuel energy. Government initiatives for pollution-free and clean energy are also expected to drive the wind turbine decommissioning market in the region during the forecast period.
  • On the other hand, the size of the U.S. wind turbine decommissioning market is expected to double by the end of the forecast period. Renewable energy projects in the U.S. are likely to benefit from multi-year federal tax incentives and several, state-level, favorable policies for solar energy in the next few years.


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Key Players Operating in Global Wind Turbine Decommissioning Market

Major players operating in the global wind turbine decommissioning market are:

  • Donjon Marine Co., Inc.
  • EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG
  • M2 Subsea
  • Apex Clean Energy
  • NIRAS Gruppen A/S
  • Ocean Surveys, Inc.
  • Oceaneering International, Inc.
  • Ramboll Group A/S
  • Enel Green Power