An offshore wind farm

Rystad Energy: Global installed offshore wind capacity to grow by 37% in 2021

The world’s installed offshore wind capacity rose by 15 per cent in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year will see a 37 per cent growth in global installed offshore wind capacity, according to Rystad Energy.

Illustration; Photo: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam/Equinor
Pie charts from Rystad Energy on offshore wind forecast for 2021
Source: Rystad Energy

Major contributor to both last year’s and this year’s growth is China. The country is expected to ramp up its offshore wind installation this year since after 2021 it will begin phasing out feed-in-tariffs, and many developers are therefore pushing to complete projects during the coming period.

Last year ended with 31.9 GW of installed offshore wind capacity, 15 per cent more compared to 27.7 GW at the end of 2019, with China accounting for 39 per cent of the additions, followed by the Netherlands (18 per cent) and the UK (17 per cent).

Rystad Energy expects the global installed offshore wind capacity to further increase by 11.8 GW in 2021, a 37 per cent increase compared to 2020, where China will continue to lead the new capacity additions, accounting for 63 per cent of the expected growth.

“China had a construction backlog of more than 10 GW going into 2020, and Chinese developers are racing to reach maximum commissioning by the end of the year in order to claim full feed-in-tariffs. This means 2021 is going to see major capacity additions, particularly since some projects initially scheduled for commissioning in 2020 ended up slipping into 2021”, said Alexander Fløtre, Rystad Energy’s Product Manager for Offshore Wind.

Commitment strong in Europe and U.S. despite delays

Europe and the U.S. saw some delays due to the pandemic and permitting issues, but offshore wind developers stayed committed to their ambitions and continued to make final investment decisions in 2020, Rystad Energy said.

In Europe, the developers of the second phase of the 50 MW Kincardine floating offshore wind project in Scotland and the Kriegers Flak combined grid solution in Denmark had to delay start-up. In the U.S., Ørsted announced in October 2020 delays of at least one year for five projects due to permitting issues.

In 2020, the UK sanctioned more than 4.7 GW of offshore wind and the Netherlands followed with over 2.2 GW. As a result, major projects such as Triton Knoll in the UK, Borssele 3 & 4 in the Netherlands and Kriegers Flak in Denmark are expected to be completed during 2021.

In the second half of last year, almost 25 GW of capacity was added to the global backlog.

Brazil, which currently has no operational offshore wind capacity, added more than 15 GW to its backlog. In Asia, Taiwan and Vietnam have started to add significant volumes to their project pipelines.