Global offshore wind capacity will surge to over 234GW by 2030 from 29.1GW at the end of last year, led by the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, as governments around the world see it as a major contributor to a post-Covid-19 economic recovery, the Global Wind Energy Council said.

Despite the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, GWEC in the second edition of its ‘Global Offshore Wind Report’ expects global offshore wind additions this year to match the 6.1GW expansion last year, which was a record.

“The industry’s outlook has grown more promising as more and more countries around the world are waking up to the immense potential of offshore wind,” said GWEC strategy director Feng Zhao.

“As the market continues to grow, innovations in the sector such as floating offshore wind, larger and more efficient turbines, as well as power-to-x solutions will continue to open new doors and markets for the sector and place the offshore industry in an increasingly important position to drive the global energy transition.”

Europe continues to be the leading region for installations, but the market is primed to take off in the Asia-Pacific region, with mainland China as the global leader in new capacity and markets like Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea set to accelerate to 2030.

The updated forecast represents a 15GW increase from last year’s, pre-Covid forecast, demonstrating the resilience of the sector to play a major role in powering both the energy transition and a green recovery, GWEC said.

“2020 was always destined to be a big year for our industry. Many nations, having underachieved with their 2020 climate goals, see offshore wind as one of the key pillars to ensuring that they successfully reach their next generation, decarbonisation strategies to keep global warming under 1.5°C,” said Philippe Kavafyan, chief executive of offshore wind OEM MHI Vestas, which has sponsored the report.

The study also includes at least 6.2GW of floating wind in the 2030 forecast.

GWEC reckons France, Japan, South Korea, Scotland, Norway, Portugal, Spain and US Pacific Coast will be the initial key markets for floating. Once commercial scale projects are established and costs come down, many other locations will come into play, for example South Africa, Canada, Philippines and many island states, it adds.

Europe remains the largest market for offshore wind as of the end of 2019, making up 75% of total global installations. The continent will also continue to be a leader in offshore wind, GWEC forecasts, with an ambitious 450GW goal by 2050 driven by installations in the UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark and Poland.

North America currently has just 30MW of offshore wind capacity in operation at the end of 2019, but deployment will accelerate in the coming years with 23GW forecasted to be installed by 2030.

Thanks to increased national ambitions, the Asia-Pacific region will increase its activity in wind at sea, the report predicts, led by China where 52GW of new offshore wind capacity is expected to be installed by 2030.

Taiwan is set to become the second-largest offshore wind market in Asia after mainland China, with a goal of 5.5GW by 2025 and an additional 10GW by 2035. Other markets in the region are also beginning to scale-up their offshore wind markets, with Vietnam, Japan and South Korea expected to install 5.2GW, 7.2GW and 12 GW of offshore wind capacity respectively.