Innovation Trends in Offshore Wind Energy

Philip Totaro
Totaro & Associates, Hamburg, HH, Germany


The pace of innovation in a market such as wind is indicative of the complex cost and the multi-year time-scale associated with technology conception to commercial adoption. Specifically, the patents which are filed today will take many years before the technology can be fully commercialized, if the adoption of a particular technology is destined to happen at all. So the patent publication takes place long before the commercial implementation of a new technology, affording the opportunity to analyze the market potential of each new innovation.

The analysis of the evolution of technology only enables accurate future technology trends when the CapEx, OpEx and LCOE impact of each newly patented innovation are considered. Measured against the R&D, non-recurring engineering as well as the commercialization costs required to implement new technologies, the potential of a new technical solution emerges as the likely pace-setter for future market adoption.

It is possible to determine future technologies which will prove to be bankable through a standardized evaluation process for each proposed innovation, whether declared in a patent filing or published paper.


Evaluation of the patent landscape offers a historical perspective on technology development and provides visibility to future technologies which are under development, but not yet commercialized. The bulk of the future view is comprised of other sources such as conference proceedings, technical papers and journal publications that are indicative of technological possibilities.

The patent landscape in wind is comprised of over 51,000 global patent filings. However at this stage, offshore specific patent filings comprise only 7% of the global patent filings in wind for a total of 2,867 global patent filings. Additionally, 1,972 journal publications, thesis papers, and technical publications along with 1,784 conference proceedings and poster presentations from known international conferences covering offshore wind over the past 20 years have rounded out the results.


Technologies that will receive over 683m Euros in R&D investment over the next 15 years and result in a 40% reduction in current offshore LCOE include:

Wind Park Development


Turbine Technology


Electrical systems


Operations, maintenance and service



The next generation of offshore wind technologies is poised to further reduce LCOE, but the industry has many near-term technologies under development with fewer game changing long-term ones. R&D expenditure needs to be aligned with both near-term and long term goals in order to ensure cost competitive offshore wind. Many technologies which have been proposed and are already receiving funding will likely have a lower impact than anticipated, and higher priority technologies need to receive additional funding commitment in order to proceed.


Delegates will gain the following benefits from this presentation: