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Wind Industry Profile of

Offshore: Forecast Revised Upwards

Offshore wind energy has made a triumphant advance in recent years. And it has only just begun, as various new analyses show. Even the COVID-19 pandemic will not change this. Quite the contrary...

The offshore expansion will continue to gain speed in the coming years (Image: Pixabay)The offshore expansion will continue to gain speed in the coming years (Image: Pixabay)

Offshore wind is still considered a relatively new industry, but its triumphal march is already impressive. According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), 6.1 gigawatt of new capacity was installed last year alone. And despite COVID-19 and the difficulties it brings, the figure is likely to be even higher at the end of this year: GWEC currently expects 6.6 gigawatt of growth.

And in the next ten years the expansion will gain even more momentum. With one major exception, offshore wind energy is still in the starting blocks, especially in the Asian and American regions. But China remains number one in new installations for the second year in a row, with a record 2.4 GW installed last year, followed by the UK with 1.8 GW and Germany with 1.1 GW. No wonder that the forecast for 2030 in this year's GWEC offshore report had to be revised upwards again: At the moment, everything points to an expansion of over 234 GW by 2030.

Political ambitions, falling technology costs and international commitments to decarbonisation are contributing to the fact that more and more countries worldwide are turning to offshore wind energy. The pandemic has even improved their prospects, as, particularly in Europe, renewables have proven in recent months that they are generating electricity reliably and crisis-proof.

GWEC CEO, Ben Backwell, says: "Offshore wind is truly going global, as governments around the world recognise the role that the technology can play in kickstarting post-COVID economic recovery through large-scale investment, creating jobs and bringing economic development to coastal communities. Over the coming decade we will see emerging offshore markets like Japan, Korea and Vietnam move to full deployment, and see the first offshore turbines installed in a number of new countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa."

The continuing development of floating installations will also help to attract more countries to the scene. In the U.S. the potential market is thus expanding to areas off California. The U.S. government could earn $1.7 billion by issuing new leasehold licenses for 28 gigawatt there - by 2022 alone, according to an analysis by Wood Mackenzie.

Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), says: "American offshore wind is a generational opportunity. Infrastructure spending, energy security, and shovel-ready jobs with good wages will be unleashed. Importantly, offshore wind development will support jobs throughout the entire U.S. The same shipbuilders, heavy lift vessel operators, steel fabricators and countless other companies who built the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas sector stand ready to lend their expertise to the American offshore wind industry."

The production of green hydrogen will cause another boom in the offshore wind industry, the experts predict (Image: Pixabay).

Other new technologies such as Power-to-X for the promotion of green hydrogen are also expected. The German government has just announced an ambitious project to promote hydrogen production from renewable energies. First projects like the 'Reallabor Westküste 100' (Real Laboratory West Coast 100) are already underway - supported by the offshore industry.

Volker Malmen, Managing Director of the world's largest offshore project developer Ørsted: "We are very pleased with this positive decision. This project is unique because it uses offshore wind power for large-scale hydrogen production. Only offshore wind can provide such a reliable renewable source of green power for the electrolysis. This requires that the expansion of renewables and offshore wind power is balanced with the increased demand for hydrogen production. We believe that renewable hydrogen is key to decarbonize industrial sectors. The Westküste 100 project is a cornerstone in our efforts to lead the way in renewable hydrogen as we are doing in offshore wind, to create a world that runs entirely on green energy."

Katrin Radtke
Offshore, forecast, report, GWEC, market, Asia, USA, Germany, China, installation, capacity, future, 2030, GW, turbine, project, prediction

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