Offshore wind refers to the turbines and wind farms located at sea. Wind power is measured in gigawatts (GW). 1 GW of power is enough to power around 300,000 homes.
As more governments commit to decarbonisation targets, mainly by 2050, the demand for new renewable energy grows rapidly.
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) predicts that globally, the annual increase in offshore wind capacity is 30 gigawatts (GW) per year from 2021 – 2030 and 40GW per year from 2031 – 2040.
The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for offshore wind in the next five years is 31.5%. The level of annual installations is likely to quadruple by 2025; from 6.1 GW in 2020 to 24.4 GW in 2025 (GWEC, 2021).
It is estimated that each GW of additional offshore wind power requires $295 million of inter-array and export cable. That means that by 2030, annual value of cable for just for offshore wind will be $8.9 billion (per year) and by 2040 will be $11.7 billion.
Number of offshore wind farms worldwide as of 2019, by country
Source: Statista 2021
Source: Statista, 2021
Offshore Wind Trends
Europe installed a total of 14.7 GW of new wind power capacity in 2020.
Amongst other European countries, the Netherlands installed the most wind power capacity in 2020 (1.98 GW), 75% of which was offshore wind.
Europe is scheduled to install around 105 GW of new wind energy capacity over the next five years if Governments adopt their promised measures and aim to reach the climate targets.
GWEC expect the volume of new offshore installations to quadruple by 2025.
Within Europe, the UK is expected to install the most wind capacity between 2021-2025, with a total of 18 GW.
China installed half of the new offshore wind in 2020. This was followed by steady growth in Europe in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and Germany.
Portugal commissioned two new floating wind turbines, amounting to 16.8 MW of wind power capacity.
Global Offshore Wind Energy Capacity from 2010 to 2019 (in gigawatts)
Source: IRENA, 2020
1,400 GW of offshore wind installation by 2050
The Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC) has determined the need for 1,400 GW of offshore wind to drive decarbonisation, meet Paris climate targets and ensure a green recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. 1,400 GW in offshore wind farms could power one-tenth of global electricity demand and save over 3 billion tonnes of CO2 annually.