Offshore wind power has the potential to grow from 13 gigawatts (GW) in 2015, to 100GW in 2030, driven by technology advancements and further cost declines, according to new analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
‘Innovation Outlook: Offshore Wind’, launched at the World Wind Energy Conference in Tokyo, provides an overview of the future developments that will drive the offshore wind power boom.
“Offshore wind power is poised to become a leading power generation technology in a decarbonised global economy,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA.
“Now that onshore wind power is cost-competitive with conventional power generation technologies, more attention is shifting to offshore applications, characterised by high technical power generation potential.”
Technology innovation will be a key driver of the offshore wind boom, according to IRENA.
The report highlights upcoming innovations that will enable sector development, including next generation wind turbines with larger blades, and floating turbines, which will open up new markets in deeper waters.
These advancements, combined with other sector developments, will reduce average costs for electricity generated by offshore wind farms by 57 per cent over time – from USD 170 per megawatt hour (MWh) in 2015 to USD 74 per MWh in 2045, according to the report.
“The potential for offshore wind is enormous, but to realise it, governments must support technology innovation, and implement mechanisms to reduce technical risk and finance costs,” said Stefen Gsaenger, Secretary-General of the World Wind Energy Association.
“This report from IRENA helps lay the foundation for this needed action.”
The report also provides a set of recommendations for the effective implementation of policy mechanisms and incentive programmes that would allow offshore wind technology to realise its potential to decarbonise the energy market. Recommendations include provisioning targeted research and development funding and supporting information sharing and skills development, amongst other measures.