New figures published Wednesday show that the offshore wind projects are the big mover in the renewable energy industry, with the global pipeline increasing by 47% since January, flying in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, to reach nearly 200GW.
The figures come via the latest Offshore Wind Project Intelligence report published by British wind energy trade body, RenewableUK. According to the new report, the total capacity of offshore wind projects worldwide that are operational, under construction, consented, in planning, or in development, currently stands at 197.4GW, up from 134.7GW in mid-January.
Offshore wind is the biggest mover in the energy industry because its costs have fallen so significantly in the last few years, as the size of turbines grew, increasing output, and technology to provide the footings and connections have improved.
Unsurprisingly, given its traditional dominance of the industry, over half of the pipeline is set for deployment across Europe, with 99.6GW, but there are increasing numbers in the Asia region.
Australia also has several large scale offshore wind projects proposed, including the 2GW Star of the South project off Victoria, and a 1.5GW wind project in an oil and gas lease off the coast of Western Australia.
The United Kingdom remains atop the pile with a total pipeline of 41.3GW of offshore wind projects in various stages of operation or development, up 12% since January when it stood at 36.9GW.
China has leapt in to second place, up from fourth at the beginning of the year, with an 80% increase from 14.5GW to 26.1GW. The United States remained in third position with 10% growth, from 16.2GW to 17.8GW, while Brazil has emerged from nowhere to land in fourth spot, with 16.3GW – announcing 10 new offshore wind projects since the beginning of the year.
Taiwan remains at fifth spot, even though it had a valuable 65% increase and saw its pipeline grow from 9.2GW to 15.2GW.
The big loser in all of this was Germany, which fell out of the top five and down to sixth place due to a 29% decrease in its pipeline, which fell from 16.5GW in January down to 11.7GW in October.
“The global appetite to develop new offshore wind projects remains enormous, despite the pandemic this year, as this research proves,” said RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn. “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 and our capacity is set to quadruple over the course of this decade following the Prime Minister’s landmark commitment to power every UK home with offshore wind by 2030.
“As well as providing clean, low-cost power, our industry will continue to revitalise coastal communities, grow the UK supply chain and export our offshore wind goods and services around the world, as our unrivalled expertise is now in huge demand globally”.
Operational capacity is still led by United Kingdom with 10.4GW, followed by Germany with 7.7GW, China with 4.6GW, Belgium with 1.8GW, and Denmark with 1.7GW.