Global pipeline of offshore wind projects soars by nearly 50% this year

New research published this week by RenewableUK shows that the total pipeline of global offshore wind projects has grown by 47% since January – despite the pandemic – making the sector the fastest growing one across all energy segments.

The Offshore Wind Project Intelligence report published by the not for profit renewable energy trade association reveals that the total capacity of offshore wind projects worldwide which are operational, under construction, consented, in planning or in development currently stands at 197.4 gigawatts (GW), up from 134.7GW in mid-January. Just over half of the pipeline (50.5%) is in Europe (99.6GW).

The offshore wind sector is the fastest growing among all energy segments 

The UK retains its top spot with a total pipeline of 41.3GW, up 12% since January when it stood at 36.9GW. China has leapt from fourth place into second with a significant 80% increase from 14.5GW to 26.1GW. The US retains third place with 10% growth (from 16.2GW to 17.8GW). Brazil has emerged from nowhere to go straight into fourth place with 16.3GW – its 10 offshore wind projects have all been announced since the start of the year. Taiwan stays at number five with a 65% increase from 9.2GW to 15.2GW.

Germany has dropped from second to sixth place due to a 29% decrease in its pipeline from 16.5GW in January to 11.7GW in October. The Netherlands is in seventh position with a 58% increase from 7.2GW to 11.4GW. In eighth place, Ireland’s pipeline expanded by 44% from 6.3GW to 9.1GW. Poland is in ninth position with 72% growth this year from 5.3GW to 9.1GW. Vietnam was outside the top 10 at the start of the year but is now in tenth place with 8.6GW.

RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said “The global appetite to develop new offshore wind projects remains enormous, despite the pandemic this year, as this research proves. The UK and many other countries are counting on the rapid growth of the offshore wind sector to be a key driver in the worldwide green economic recovery.”

The UK remains the biggest market for offshore wind in the world with capacity set to quadruple over the course of this decade following the prime minister Boris Johnson’s landmark commitment to power every UK home with offshore wind by 2030.

In terms of operational capacity, the UK still has the most in the world (10.4GW), Germany is in second place with 7.7GW, China is third (4.6GW), Belgium fourth (1.8GW) and Denmark fifth with 1.7GW.

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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