Another record year of offshore wind farm investments on the cards

Wind farm investments are set for another record-breaking year of investments, according to a new report from Clarksons Research, which highlights some staggering numbers in the booming sector.

For the first time, capex committed in offshore renewables overtook offshore oil and gas last year – $51bn versus $41bn.

Scenarios from Clarksons’ energy transition model (see charts below) suggest offshore wind will grow to between 4% and 7% of energy supply by the middle of the century compared to just 0.2% today, and there will be a seven to 11 fold increase in output by 2030 to over 544 TWh.

Capex committed in offshore renewables overtook offshore oil and gas last year – $51bn versus $41bn

A total of 18 wind farms of 5.6 GW started up last year and future capex committed to a further 48 of 16.4 GW, although 50% of this is Chinese projects, rushing to beat a subsidy deadline at the end of 2021.

“Our medium term projections, modelled on the ‘pipeline’ of new projects expected to start up, suggest further record investment in 2021 and that by the middle of this decade there may be over 350 farms with 15,000 turbines and capacity approaching 90 GW,” the latest weekly report from Clarksons Research predicted. Today there are 160 farms in operation with a capacity of 31 GW and 7,200 active turbines.

Having initially borrowed or converted many assets from offshore oil and gas, the offshore wind fleet is moving to-wards specialisation with dedicated WTIV, CTV and Walk to Work fleets, Clarksons noted. Including other support and construction vessels, Clarksons has identified around 875 units that are active across the wind market with a further 125 newbuildings.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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