The boom in offshore wind projects over the past 12 months has been “nothing short of staggering”, according to analysts who have said planned developments put global capacity on track to double what was in the pipeline a year ago.
This time last year, the capacity of offshore wind projects at every stage of development – operational, under construction, consented or planned – stood at 429 gigawatts (GW).
That has now risen to 846GW in the developmental pipeline today, with surging Chinese investment driving the biggest rises in planned capacity.
According to Renewable UK which carried out the analysis, China has the biggest offshore wind project pipeline at 98GW, the UK is in second place at 91GW, up from 55GW a year ago, and the USA is third with 80GW.
Germany is fourth at 57GW. Other countries with major offshore wind projects in the offing include Brazil, Sweden, Ireland, Vietnam and South Korea.
Europe’s total planned capacity now stands at 350GW, with 26GW operational, and the project pipeline in countries outside Europe will deliver a capacity of 496GW.
In terms of existing offshore wind power, China leads the world with a total maximum capacity of 24.5GW, the UK is second at 10.5GW, Germany third with 7.7GW, The Netherlands fourth at 3GW and Denmark fifth with 2.3GW.
The analysis also examines trends in types of offshore wind power, with the UK now leading the way on floating wind installations, as opposed to turbines fixed to the seabed.
The UK is set to grow its floating offshore capacity from 80 megawatts, with two floating wind farms generating in Scottish waters, to 32GW, with more projects in Scotland and in the Celtic Sea.
Renewable UK said Portugal’s pipeline of floating wind projects was the second largest in the world at 25MW and Norway and China were joint-third at 6MW each.
RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail said: “The global growth of offshore wind over the last year is nothing short of staggering. Our EnergyPulse report shows that this technology is now a truly global industry, not just in Europe and Asia, but also with major projects underway in North and South American and Australia.
“Countries around the world recognise the urgent need to ramp up the transition to clean power – not only to tackle climate change, but also to provide secure supplies of low-cost homegrown electricity for people hit hard by international gas prices going through the roof. Add to that the benefits of creating millions of skilled jobs and attracting billions in private investment, and you can see why offshore wind is surging ahead globally.”
He added: “It’s great to see that the UK has the biggest global pipeline of floating projects, as this will prove to be a gamechanger in reaching net zero faster, as well as creating opportunities for us to export innovative British technology all over the world, building up new supply chains”.