The next decade of offshore wind growth “belongs to Asia”, Recharge Editor-in-Chief Darius Snieckus told a major industry conference.

The emergence of significant new markets such as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, and a steep take-off for floating turbine deployment, will help the region become “the new epicentre” for wind at sea globally, Snieckus told the eighth Asia Offshore Wind Day.

Fast-growing and power-hungry “mega-cities” near coastal locations, and the presence of a “world-class offshore oil & gas and maritime construction industry” can only help offshore wind’s cause, said Snieckus, who gave the opening keynote for the event, organised virtually by the Asia Wind Energy Association from Tokyo.

“For these reasons and many more, Asia is set to become a dynamic, rapidly iteractive play set for global primacy,” Snieckus said, citing forecasts of 100GW or more turning in by 2030.

Floating wind is in a particularly strong position to thrive in Asia, the event was told. Snieckus pointed to three regional markets alone – Japan, South Korea and Taiwan – that are being tipped to spur a 10GW, $60bn floating bonanza, but that the sector’s potential extends across the Asia Pacific.

“That certainly makes the case for complementarity – rather than competition – between floating and bottom-fixed wind power,” said Snieckus.

Policy impetus

Policy imperatives are adding to offshore wind’s momentum in the region, said the Recharge Editor-in-Chief.

“Government decarbonisation targets are hugely ambitious – not least China’s plan to be net zero by 2060 – and they will demand a baseload profile from power plants that given landmass restrictions will be most economically delivered by offshore wind.”

Snieckus told delegates that the opportunities in the region feed into a wider chance for the sector to deliver a global double win by helping economies hit stretching climate targets while stimulating recovery from the Covid pandemic.

“As governments enter a pivotal year in the ramp up of climate action, the role of offshore wind can hardly be overstated.”

The sector’s eventual expansion from a few dozen gigawatts to terawatt scale will be aided by trends such as the need for vast amounts of power to produce green hydrogen, and the willingness of oil & gas giants to invest in offshore wind to help their own decarbonisation objectives, Snieckus predicted.

“As we said in a recent Recharge OpEd piece, from supercharging the hydrogen economy to powering fish farming, offshore wind points the way to a world run by renewables and is vital for civilisation’s future,” he concluded.