Global offshore wind fleet to reach 230GW by 2030 - GWEC

Industry body forecasts eight-fold increase in global offshore wind capacity by 2030

Going global: Taiwan joined the offshore boom in 2019 with the 120MW Formosa 1 Phase 2 project (pic credit: Swancor)
Going global: Taiwan joined the offshore boom in 2019 with the 120MW Formosa 1 Phase 2 project (pic credit: Swancor)

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Worldwide offshore wind icapacity will increase more than eight-fold to 234GW by 2030 due to the industry maturing and improved support schemes, supply chain and cost reductions, according to a new report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

In its second annual Global Offshore Wind report, the industry body forecasts more than 205GW of new offshore wind capacity being installed by 2030, adding to the 29.1GW installed by the end of 2019.

This forecast marks a 15GW increase from last year’s outlook, as the industry has been buoyed by increased policy ambitions, declining technology costs and international commitments to decarbonisation, GWEC stated.

Europe will continue to be the leading region for installations by 2030, but development in the Asia-Pacific region will accelerate in the next decade. GWEC predicts the first additions will also be made off Africa and North and Latin America.

2019 and beyond

This growth surge is predicted on the back of an all-time high 6.1GW of new capacity installed in 2019.

This was all concentrated in just a handful of markets, though: China (2.4GW), UK (1.8GW), Germany (1.1GW), Denmark (374MW), Belgium (370MW), Taiwan (120MW) and Japan (3MW).

But over the next decade, the offshore wind will become a more global industry, GWEC CEO Ben Backwell noted, as governments around the world recognise the sector's ability to create jobs and bring economic development to coastal communities.

Backwell added that governments see offshore wind development as a tool to “kickstart post-Covid economic recovery”.

Following years of development – mainly in Europe – the offshore wind industry and policymakers have improved their understanding of support schemes, industrial development and job creation, grid-connection, cost reduction, supply chains, and health and safety, GWEC added.

By the end of the decade, the world leader for offshore wind installations will be outside Europe, the industry body predicts, with China (58.8GW) pulling ahead of the UK (40.3GW), the United States (22.6GW), Germany (20GW), and the Netherlands (11.4GW).

GWEC forecasts an offshore wind boom in Asia Pacific, with Taiwan set to meet its goals of installing 5.5GW by 2025 and then an additional 10GW by 2035, and Vietnam, Japan and South Korea expected to install 5.2GW, 7.2GW and 12GW respectively.

Africa and Latin America will also have their first offshore wind installations in the next decade, the industry body believes.

Improved technology 

Meanwhile, floating offshore wind will also reach full commercialisation – after years of research, development and trialling – with at least 6GW installed by 2030.

And turbine technology will also become more efficient and resilient, and the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) will be reduced even further, GWEC forecasts.

These developments and other innovations, such as power-to-x, can help open up new markets, GWEC strategy director Feng Xhao suggested.

He added: “Offshore wind has already proven itself as an affordable, scalable, zero-carbon technology, and maximising the growth potential of the industry has depended on collaborative action between governments and industry for market design, to set clear capacity targets, undertake forward-looking planning for infrastructure development and workforce requirements. 

“There are plenty of lessons we can take from the last 30 years of offshore wind development in Europe to ensure the long-term success and growth of the industry in new markets around the globe, as we are only beginning to unlock the full clean energy potential of offshore wind.”

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