A report from World Bank, Going global: expanding offshore wind to emerging markets, finds that the technical potential for offshore wind in Brazil, India, Morocco, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Vietnam is absolutely huge
The bank estimates its potential in these countries as 3.1 TW – which is about three times the installed electricity generating capacity of all EU countries. This includes 1,016 GW of fixed and 2,066 GW of floating potential.
“For most of these countries, offshore wind estimates represent a multiple of their currently installed total generation capacity,” the report said.
“This suggests offshore wind can play a transformational role meeting national goals ranging from expanding electricity access to increasing the mix of renewable resources in the energy mix, all while contributing to the sustainable development goals and commitments made under the Paris Agreement.”
The authors of the report noted that, as prices continue to fall, offshore wind is increasingly gaining traction in emerging markets, beyond its current proliferation in Europe and China. By some estimates, offshore wind could add anywhere between 7 GW and 11 GW per year from 2019 to 2024, with substantial potential in developing countries.
The report looks at offshore areas within 200 km of each country’s coast, taking advantage of the data available from the latest version of the Global Wind Atlas. While some countries, such as India, Sri Lanka and Turkey, have significant fixed offshore wind potential in shallower waters, others such as the Philippines and South Africa require floating foundations to account for greater water depths – up to 1,000 m.
Highlighting the challenges and opportunities for offshore wind markets in these countries, the report also assesses the technical potential, proximity to demand centres, relevant policies and energy targets, and how they fit within current and future regional offshore wind markets.
The report follows the establishment of a new World Bank Group programme that aims to fast-track offshore wind power expansion in developing countries and provide technical assistance to these countries, so they can assess their offshore wind potential and develop a pipeline of projects that are investment-ready.
The report describes offshore wind as “a substantial, renewable source of energy for developing countries seeking alternatives to fossil fuels for their energy mix and to implement environmentally sustainable energy access solutions.” It said that offshore wind now represents about US$26Bn in annual investments – or 8% of new global investment in clean energy, but this proportion is set to increase dramatically, with an estimated US$700Bn in investments for 190 GW of installed capacity by 2030.
“For countries like Vietnam, this signals a significant opportunity for cost-competitive, large-scale offshore wind projects located close to areas of high energy demand,” the World Bank said.
For offshore wind to be built-out on this scale will require a stable policy environment, it said, along with innovative financing. For it to take off in low and middle-income countries, concessional financing or other forms of public support will be essential initially, and development must be tailored to suit the unique needs of a country. This could entail anything from adapting to challenging water depths and less robust grids, to accounting for extreme weather and mitigating environmental impacts.
“Regional co-operation is key to achieving economies of scale,” the bank said. “To achieve competitive pricing and drive supply chain development, a regional approach is required to generate sufficient scale.
“Without regional co-operation, individual governments might be more inclined to attempt to create markets independently, building supply and value chains where they may not make sense.
“With further analysis and careful consideration and planning, it is possible for developing countries to harness the power of the wind to reach their clean energy and climate goals.”