GWEC Expects Record Year in Offshore Wind Installations

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) expects 2021 to be the new record year for new offshore wind capacity installed globally.

Last year, 6.1 GW of offshore wind capacity were installed globally, a slight decrease from a record 6.24 GW in 2019. With China’s offshore wind sector rushing to install 7.5 GW ahead of the expiry of current feed in tariffs (FITs), GWEC expects this year to break the record in newly installed capacity.

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In 2020, China connected more than 3 GW of offshore wind to the grid, while Europe accounted for the majority of remaining new capacity, led by the Netherlands, which installed nearly 1.5 GW of new offshore wind in 2020, followed by Belgium with 706 MW. Outside of China and Europe, two other countries recorded new offshore wind installations in 2020: South Korea (60 MW) and the US (12 MW).

A record-breaking area for offshore wind in 2020 was financing with a total of USD 35 billion poured into the sector in the first six months of the year, up by a whopping 319 per cent year-on-year, according to GWEC’s Global Offshore Wind Report 2021 which refers to data from BloombergNEF. Offshore wind financing during the first six months of 2020 topped 2019’s record full-year figure, a revised USD 31.9 billion.

Looking ahead, GWEC forecasts 235 GW of new offshore wind capacity will be installed over the next decade under current policies.

That capacity is seven times bigger than the current market size, and is a 15 per cent increase on the previous year’s forecasts. However, this is only 11 per cent of the capacity required to meet net-zero targets by 2050, according to the report.

GWEC said that the world had so far installed only 2 per cent of the offshore wind capacity that would be needed by the middle of this century to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Photo: Nicholas Doherty/ GWEC