GWEC REPORT 2021 - ACT FAST TO REACH 2050 TARGETSIndustry Insights
The Global Offshore Wind Report for 2021 is set for release today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) showing a steady growth in offshore wind over 2020 despite the COVID pandemic. It details that the market installed 6.1 GW globally but warned that governments need to act decisively and improve policies to fasten the pace if the world is going to reach the ambitious targets of 2030 and 2050.
China was the front runner for installations in 2020 for the third year in a row with more than 3GW of offshore wind connected to the grid according to the data release by the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA) followed by the Netherlands with 1.5GW and Belgium with 706MW.
With many countries now gearing up to move forward with their offshore wind plans including Australia, America and Italy to name a few it feels like we are moving in the right direction however, GWEC urges policy makers to ‘remove red tape, create robust market frameworks and overhaul power grids and other infrastructure’ to make this happen.
Over the next decade over 235GW of new offshore wind capacity is set to be installed around the globe which although is a remarkable 7 times bigger than the current market and a 15% increase on last years forecast it is worryingly only 11% of what is required to meet the worlds global net zero targets by 2050.
According to reports published by IEA and IRENA the world needs to have 2000GW of offshore wind capacity to reach the agreed target of keeping global temperature rises under 1.5C by 2050. However, although many countries have comprehensive offshore wind plans over the coming years these would still only account for 560GW.
“The offshore wind industry continues to break records, reduce prices, and innovate to new heights and depths while creating significant industrial and socioeconomic benefits for countries capturing its potential. But as the G20 recognised at its most recent summit, we are in a climate emergency and we can no longer be content with simply breaking records – the scale of growth we need to achieve for the future of our planet goes beyond anything we have seen before. The offshore industry believes they can meet this challenge, but there is a clear target and policy gap that countries need to fill for the industry to deliver.”
Ben Backwell, CEO, GWEC
“We’ve seen unprecedented growth of offshore wind over the past decade with the UK, China and Germany leading the way. Looking to the next three decades, Asia will need to emerge as the world’s most prominent offshore wind region to deliver this massive scaling-up of capacity, accounting for 40 per cent of the 2,000 GW needed by 2050, followed by Europe with 32 per cent and North America with 18 per cent. While this may seem like a huge challenge, it is just a drop in the water compared to the 71,000 GW of technical offshore wind potential that exists in the world today and goes largely untapped.”
Feng Zhao, Head of Strategy and Market Intelligence, GWEC
“With the crucial COP26 conference just around the corner, now is the time for countries to introduce national policy frameworks to kick-start their offshore wind markets this decade and show they are serious about renewables. Offshore will undoubtedly need to play a central role in global decarbonisation plans and is a natural sector to re-skill workers from sunset fossil fuel industries, while providing the technology to bring new solutions like green hydrogen to the scale needed.”
Rebecca Williams, Director of COP26, GWEC
On the plus side those of us with jobs in offshore wind face exciting times ahead with more and more countries across the globe buying into the fact that wind energy has the biggest growth potential of any renewable energy technology in the world, and with a combination of a step change in political action and innovative and ever-changing improvements to increase capacity and output this report could make for very different reading in only a matter of years whilst creating thousands of jobs in wind and giving the world a chance to reach our net zero targets