The global offshore wind market is set to mushroom to over 250GW by the end of the decade driven by some $810bn in new projects, many being spurred by the growing shift in capital spending by international oil & gas operators, according to latest numbers from Rystad Energy.

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The Norwegian analyst group forecast an acceleration of the sector’s build-out, with expectations plant capacity offshore will grow by 22% a year on average from the current 33GW installed fleet, passing 109GW by 2025 on its way to 251GW five years later.

“The colossal level of investments anticipated in the offshore wind industry this decade reflects the ambitious targets set by companies and governments alike,” said Rystad offshore wind analyst Petra Manuel, who noted that the sector had already “tripled its size” since 2016.

“As the market matures and economies of scale are achieved, investments could surge further, sparking even more installed capacity,” she said, highlighting the $56bn expected to be spent 2021 to bring almost 13 GW of capacity to commissioning, lifting the total installed globally to 46GW.

Annual investment is foreseen experiencing a “a short-lived dip” in 2022 and 2023 before climbing up to $126bn by 2030, a year when Rystad predicts offshore wind will reach an “inflection point” when it will eclipse ‘greenfield’ offshore oil & gas capital expenditure (capex).

The analyst sees Europe, as the largest regional market, “dominating” offshore wind spending to 2030, totaling about $300bn, led by some of the UK’s giga-scale development such as Orsted’s 4.8GW Hornsea 2,3 and 4, which together represent $14bn billion in capex, and giant $11bn Dogger Bank complex.

China, which roared into the offshore wind sector with a huge programme of capital spending between 2019 and 2021, is forecast to spend about $110bn to 2030, while Rystad expects “significant “investments this year, driven by Vietnam and Taiwan, with South Korea and Japan seeing a stady rise in capex “beginning in 2023 as more projects are lined up”.

The US, stalled for four years under Donald Trump’s presidency, is now foreseen enjoying a spend of just over $70bn this decade on offshore wind projects – “still a significant sum, but well below that of other global regions”, said Manuel.