GWEC: Offshore wind will surge to over 234 GW by 2030, led by Asia-Pacific

Source: press release, 5 August 2020

illustration: GWEC
illustration: GWEC

Global offshore wind capacity will surge to over 234 GW by 2030 from 29.1 GW at the end of 2019, led by exponential growth in the Asia-Pacific region and continued strong growth in Europe, according to a new report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

GWEC has released the second edition of its Global Offshore Wind Report, which provides a comprehensive overview of the offshore wind sector globally with the latest data and analysis on market growth, industry forecasts to 2030 and data-based insights on emerging markets. The report also includes lessons learnt on support schemes, industrial development and job creation, grid connection, cost reduction and supply chain, as well as health and safety to further drive growth of the global offshore wind market.

The report finds that 2019 was the best year on record for offshore wind, with 6.1 GW of new capacity added globally, bringing total global cumulative installations to 29.1 GW. China remains in the number one spot for the second year in a row for new installations, installing a record 2.4 GW, followed by the UK at 1.8 GW and Germany at 1.1 GW. While Europe continues to be the leading region for offshore wind, countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and South Korea, as well as the US market are quickly picking up the pace and will be regions of significant growth in the next decade.

GWEC Market Intelligence forecasts that through 2030, more than 205 GW of new offshore wind capacity will be added globally, including at least 6.2 GW of floating offshore wind. This represents a 15 GW increase from the forecasts in GWEC Market Intelligence’s pre-COVID forecast, demonstrating the resilience of the sector to play a major role in powering both the energy transition and a green recovery.

Ben Backwell, CEO at GWEC comments, “Offshore wind is truly going global, as governments around the world recognise the role that the technology can play in kickstarting post-COVID economic recovery through large-scale investment, creating jobs and bringing economic development to coastal communities. Over the coming decade we will see emerging offshore markets like Japan, Korea and Vietnam move to full deployment, and see the first offshore turbines installed in a number of new countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.”

“The report shows that 900,000 jobs will be created in the offshore sector over the next decade – and this number can only increase if policymakers put in place recovery strategies that can further accelerate growth of the sector. Furthermore, 1 GW of offshore wind power avoids 3.5 MT CO2 – making it the most effective available large-scale technology to avoid carbon emissions and displace fossil fuels in many geographies,” Backwell continues.

Feng Zhao, GWEC Strategy Director says, “The industry’s outlook has grown more promising as more and more countries around the world are waking up to the immense potential of offshore wind. As the market continues to grow, innovations in the sector such as floating offshore wind, larger and more efficient turbines, as well as Power-to-X solutions will continue to open new doors and markets for the sector and place the offshore industry in an increasingly important position to drive the global energy transition.”

“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,” he adds.

The global offshore market has grown on average by 24% each year since 2013. Europe remains the largest market for offshore wind as of the end of 2019, making up 75% of total global installations. Europe will continue to be a leader in offshore wind, with an ambitious 450 GW goal by 2050 driven by installations in the UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark and Poland, with several other EU markets posting double-digit volumes.

North America currently has just 30 MW of offshore wind capacity in operation at the end of 2019, but deployment will accelerate in the coming years with 23 GW forecasted to be installed by 2030. The majority of this growth will come from the budding industry in the US, and we can expect to already see utility-scale projects coming online by 2024 in the country.

The report highlights increased activity level in the Asia-Pacific region thanks to increased national ambition, led by China where 52 GW of new offshore wind capacity is expected to be installed by 2030. Taiwan is set to become the second-largest offshore wind market in Asia after Mainland China, with a goal of 5.5 GW by 2025 and an additional 10 GW by 2035. Other markets in the region are also beginning to scale-up their offshore wind markets, with Vietnam, Japan and South Korea expected to install 5.2 GW, 7.2 GW and 12 GW of offshore wind capacity respectively.

GWEC is working actively to drive the growth of offshore through the work of its Task Forces and members, including Global Offshore Wind, Japan Offshore Wind and Floating Offshore Wind. GWEC is also closely working with The World Bank Group and ESMAP on their Offshore Wind Development Program, which will include a virtual study tour of offshore wind for policymakers in 20 emerging markets in September 2020.

The full Global Offshore Wind Report is available for download here. To learn more insights from the findings of the report, GWEC is organising a webinar on 12 August with the report authors and offshore wind leader MHI Vestas to discuss key findings and how to accelerate offshore wind development. Registration for the webinar can be done here.