Offshore wind is set to play a major role in the world’s energy mix according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In the ‘Offshore Wind Outlook 2019’, the IEA forecasts that global offshore wind capacity could rise 15-fold by 2040 and attract $1 trillion of cumulative investment.
Market growth will be largely driven by falling technology costs, technological progress and supportive government policies, the IEA says.
Offshore wind capacity in the EU stands at almost 20 GW. Under current policies, that is set to rise to nearly 130 GW by 2040. However, if the EU reaches its carbon-neutrality aims, offshore wind capacity would jump to around 180 GW by 2040 and become the region’s largest single source of electricity.
An even more ambitious vision – in which policies drive a big increase in demand for clean hydrogen produced by offshore wind – could push European offshore wind capacity dramatically higher, reaching up to 450 GW by 2050.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “[The] IEA report is a strong endorsement of offshore wind. They’re spot on in showing how falling costs and technology development have made offshore wind an obvious choice for countries as a source of energy. And the report shows not only how offshore wind is as cheap as coal and gas in many regions, it’s also as stable in terms of its ‘capacity factors’.
“The numbers the IEA envisage for Europe are actually conservative. They say 130-180 GW by 2040. But we’ll already have 90 GW by 2030, thanks to the increased commitments governments have made since they started writing their National Energy & Climate Plans. The EU Commission’s eight scenarios for 2050 envisage between 230 and 450 GW by 2050, and that’s what we’re aiming for.”