The global offshore wind market has grown by 16% over the last 12 months, according to new figures from the UK’s wind energy trade body, RenewableUK, with the United States accounting for nearly half of the rapid global growth.
RenewableUK published the new data at the Global Offshore Wind 2019 conference being held in London, revealing that the global portfolio of offshore wind energy projects in operation, under construction, or in development rose from just under 105 gigawatts (GW) to over 121 GW over the last 12 months.
Europe remains the largest single region for offshore wind, accounting for 66% of the global pipeline. Europe is led by the UK, which has a pipeline of over 38.4 GW at varying stages of development — a 9% rise over the last 12 months. The UK’s dominance will only be helped by the March announcement of an Offshore Wind Sector Deal which is intended to ensure offshore wind generates over 30% of the country’s electricity by 2030.
“The UK is putting offshore wind at the heart of our energy future and markets across the globe are following our lead,” said RenewableUK’s CEO Hugh McNeal. “Other countries are racing to match world leaders like the UK, opening up opportunities for export and investment across the globe. Innovation in offshore wind will help transform the UK’s energy system and set global trends in new markets.
“The UK is the most exciting offshore wind market in the world in 2019, with up to 6GW of new capacity coming forward at record low prices. The industry is creating new opportunities in communities across the UK and investing in talent to grow our workforce to over 27,000.”
Germany was the second largest European country and the second largest global offshore wind energy market, with a pipeline of 16.5 GW. However, this is actually a decline compared to 12 months ago, as some older projects in development have been cancelled.
Beyond Europe, the United States has quickly risen to be the third largest offshore wind energy market, overtaking both China with its 12 GW pipeline and Taiwan with its 8.9 GW pipeline, with a pipeline that grew from 7.5 GW in 2018 to 15.7 GW a year later. As has been covered extensively, the United States has been driving ahead with the development of offshore wind energy projects, led by East Coast states making new policy initiatives and awarding numerous projects to developers. The East Coast states have been setting ever-greater targets, with Massachusetts planning to develop 1.6 GW of new offshore wind capacity and New Jersey unveiling a target of 3.5 GW by 2030.
Together, these top 5 countries account for 75% of the global offshore wind energy capacity, a surge which has benefited from cost declines across the sector, with many markets seeing prices drop in excess of 50% over the last few years.