GWEC: Offshore Wind Set For Global Expansion

Cumulative installed wind power capacity will top 800GW by the end of 2021, with offshore wind establishing a firmer foothold outside Europe in the next several years, according to a report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). 

Europe’s steady if unspectacular march towards its 2020 targets has been given a big boost by the year’s most exciting new development: the dramatic price reductions for offshore wind, GWEC said in its Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update.

Europe will continue to lead the offshore market, but the low prices have attracted the attention of policymakers worldwide, particularly in North America and Asia, according to GWEC.

“Offshore wind has had a major price breakthrough in the past year, and looks set to live up to the enormous potential that many have believed in for years. We see the technology continuing to improve and spread beyond its home base in Europe in the next 5-10 years,” said GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer.

More than 54GW of wind power capacity was installed across the global market in 2016. Cumulative capacity grew by 12.6% in 2016 to reach a total of 486.8GW.

GWEC’s rolling five year forecast sees almost 60GW of new wind installations in 2017, rising to an annual market of about 75GW by 2021.

“Wind power is now successfully competing with heavily subsidized incumbents across the globe, building new industries, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and leading the way towards a clean energy future,” said Sawyer.

“We are well into a period of disruptive change, moving away from power systems centered on a few large, polluting plants towards markets increasingly dominated by a range of widely distributed renewable energy sources. We need to get to a zero emissions power system well before 2050 if we are to meet our climate change and development goals.”