New installations of offshore wind capacity hit an all-time high in 2021, with 21.1 GW connected to the grid, bringing the total global capacity to 56 GW. By the end of this decade, 260 GW of new offshore wind is forecast to be added globally, with the total capacity reaching 316 GW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
GWEC’s Global Offshore Wind Report 2022 shows that governments around the world are getting more ambitious about offshore wind capacity and that their upgraded targets should usher in “a new era of dramatic growth,” resulting in yet more record-breaking years from 2025 onwards. Due to these increased ambitions, GWEC has raised its outlook for 2030 by 16.7%, to a total of 316 GW installed.
2031 could see nearly 55 GW of new offshore wind installations
The volume of annual offshore wind installations is expected to more than double in 2031 compared with the 2021 figure, to 54.9 GW, while offshore’s share of all new wind installations is projected to grow from 23% in 2021 to at least 30% by 2031, according to the report.
Asia set to replace Europe as biggest offshore wind market
Currently, 23 GW of offshore wind is under construction around the world, led by Europe, with a 49.5% share, and Asia, with 46.6%. However, the GWEC report predicts that by the end of 2022 Asia will replace Europe as the world’s largest offshore market, and that it could take until 2031 for Europe to regain the top spot.
China accounted for 80% of new offshore wind installations in 2021
By country, China is currently the most active market, with 7.8 GW of offshore wind capacity under construction. In 2021, it had the largest share of new offshore wind installations for the fourth year in a row, accounting for 80% of new capacity deployed worldwide.
The second-biggest offshore developer is the United Kingdom, with 5.6 GW under construction, followed by the Netherlands, with 2.3 GW, Taiwan, 2.1 GW, France, 1.4 GW, and Germany, 1.1 GW, according to the GWEC report.
120 GW of floating wind projects under development worldwide
GWEC’s report identifies more than 700 GW of offshore wind projects at different stages of development worldwide, of which 120 GW is floating wind.
Europe leads the way in the floating wind segment
In 2021, floating offshore wind saw 57 MW of new capacity installed, putting the total installed capacity at 121.4 MW, GWEC said, noting that floating wind has now moved on from the demonstration stage and to the pre-commercial phase. Of the new floating wind capacity in 2021, 48 MW was installed in the UK, 5.5 MW in China, and 3.6 MW in Norway.
In this segment, Europe leads the way and GWEC predicts it will account for 11 GW out of a total of 18.9 GW that is expected to be deployed globally by 2030. Asia, according to GWEC’s projections, will build 5.5 GW of new floating wind by 2030.