PO003

Market assessment of off-shore wind energy innovations: An attribute-matching framework

Declan Jordan1, Aldert Otter 2
1University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, 2Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland, UCC, Cork, Ireland

Abstract

Increasingly, funded projects are required to demonstrate commercial and economic impact of their research. A critical element of this is the need to identify the extent to which product, process, and/or design innovations generated in scientific research projects are commercially viable. This requires a robust framework that can shed light on whether the proposed innovations meet a defined market need and address issues that are considered important by potential users and purchasers of the innovation.

The paper describes a framework, with several stages, for conducting assessments of the market potential of innovations from research projects in offshore wind energy. The methodology is based on a matching design attributes and value propositions to the needs and preferences of market players. The paper presents a framework for market assessment using innovations in installation vessels, operations and maintenance (O&M) vessels, and foundations for offshore wind turbines. The framework generates an evidence-based assessment of the market potential of innovations designed as part of large research and development projects, whether publicly and/or privately funded. The framework can be easily extended to other innovations in the wind energy industry by focusing on the various attributes of these innovations and comparing these to identified and ranked attributes valued by the potential market users/purchasers.

Method

The framework for market assessment of off-shore wind energy innovations uses an attribute-matching approach which tests the extent to which an innovation meets the ranked preferences of potential buyers and/or users. A survey of potential buyers identifies the critical factors on which a purchase decision is made. Respondents are required to identify the extent to which design attributes are important in their use/purchase decision and to rank attributes according to their criticality in using the innovations in their commercial operations. Separately, designers of the innovation are surveyed to rank the attributes of their innovation on an identical scale. Attribute matching identifies the extent to which the innovations meet the most important market needs as identified by potential users/buyers.

Results

The paper presents a framework for undertaking market assessments that can be robustly applied for any wind energy innovation. The framework has been applied to assess the market potential of innovations in installation vessels, operations and maintenance (O&M) vessels, and various types of floating foundations for offshore wind turbines, though the results of these market assessments are not included in the paper. The paper presents a detailed description of the framework, including market structure analysis, the survey instruments, sampling techniques, qualitative instruments, and methods of analysis.

Conclusions

The paper has important implications for the industry in that it presents a robust framework for conducting market assessments for innovations from funded research projects. Increasingly large funded scientific projects are required to demonstrate economic and/or commercial impact. The framework in this paper provides a mechanism for generating evidence to support claims of market impact for innovations generated by publicly funded scientific research projects.

Objectives

The paper provides delegates with a framework to produce evidence-based market assessments for new innovations in the wind energy industry. Researchers will be provided with mechanisms to aid research proposals that address commercial and economic impact of potential innovations. Designers can use or amend the framework to test their proposed innovations in the market. Wind farm developers or firms offering contracted services to them will benefit from insights into the critical attributes identified by users and purchasers of vessels and turbine foundations for offshore wind energy in their buying decisions.