Offshore wind primed for rapid expansion in new markets this decade
Industry and government must work together to speed up licensing, permitting and grow the supply chain in order to deliver on enormous potential.
Melbourne, Australia, 28 August | The global offshore wind industry delivered its second best year for new capacity ever in 2022, with 8.8 GW of new clean energy connected to the grid around the world, according to the new Global Offshore Wind Report 2023, from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
The report forecasts that a massive 380 GW of new offshore wind will be built by 2032 – nearly half of which will come from the Asia-Pacific region. The size of the potential in the APAC region, combined with the number of new countries turning to offshore wind for their energy needs, marks the next frontier for this exciting technology. More than 180 GW capacity has been identified in the region outside of China, with Australia alone accounting for more than 50GW.
Offshore wind at this scale would abate approximately 650 MT of CO2 and generate competitive clean electricity equivalent to three times Australia’s total energy consumption in 2022; while also creating new green industries and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the region. Offshore wind would be transformative for the APAC region.
The central challenge governments now face is in realising this potential. Unprecedented collaboration, cooperation and investment across the world is needed to help overcome the hurdles the industry faces.
The Global Offshore Report 2023 also points to the risks of inadequate policy frameworks and too timid approaches: while increasing its forecast for APAC, GWEC has downgraded its near-term forecast for Europe and North America by 17% due to delays caused by permitting and other regulatory issues, while supply chain bottlenecks are a risk for every region except China. On the other hand, GWEC’s longer-term forecast offers hope with the prospect of strong growth from 2028-32.
Ben Backwell, CEO, GWEC, said: “The offshore wind sector has delivered another year of impressive growth to reinforce last year’s record numbers. This report outlines that the potential is there for record growth every year from now on. This would deliver a transformed, clean, secure energy system – particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
“However, governments and industry across the world will need to work together if this potential is to be realised, while trade and industrial policies will need to focus on partnership and collaboration to deliver investment and growth.
“Governments and industry will need to face head-on the challenges the sector faces around supply chain, permitting and policy in order to build future-proof markets. By solving these challenges we can build a strong, resilient global offshore wind industry that can provide a clean and secure foundation for economies around the world, and ensure we meet our climate targets.”
Rebecca Williams, Global Head of Offshore Wind, GWEC, said: “Offshore wind is now poised for a new frontier of growth with a diverse set of countries across the world taking forward offshore wind plans. However, the sector is also at a critical juncture.
“The time has come to take a new, simpler approach to policy for offshore wind. Such an approach should prioritise the delivery of large volumes of offshore wind, supported by incentive based industrial policies to deliver the socio-economic benefits the world now expects from the industry.”
Iberdrola Australia’s Chairman and CEO, Ross Rolfe, AO, said: “Iberdrola is delighted to be the principal sponsor of the 2023 GWEC Global Offshore Report. The report highlights the critical role of offshore wind in achieving decarbonisation targets across the world.
“A key theme of the report is the rapid growth of offshore wind in Asia Pacific, a region that is expected to host almost half of the new offshore capacity out to 2030. Iberdrola has played a pioneering role in the green energy transition for more than twenty years and, as we look to the horizon, we believe offshore wind will play a critical role in delivering a reliable and affordable green energy future for Australia, for APAC and for the global economy in general.
“We believe that by working collaboratively with governments, consumers, suppliers, workers, and communities we will be able to ensure that the benefits of offshore wind growth are shared fairly by all stakeholders.”