Figures released by the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association have highlighted the fast pace of growth in Europe’s offshore wind sector.
RenewableUK said the European offshore wind sector has the potential to deliver more than 80 GW of capacity if projects already commissioned and those planned are fully constructed.
The figures are contained in RenewableUK’s latest Offshore Wind Project Intelligence Report.
The industry association predicts an annual build-out on a five-year basis out to 2024 that would reach 40 GW, a timeframe in which RenewableUK said it can be most confident about project potential.
The remainder of the pipeline up to 80 GW would be built out post-2024, unless policy or other changes to market conditions affect offshore wind deployment in European countries.
Previous estimates by WindEurope and others have predicted that Europe would have grid-connected capacity of 25 GW in 2020. In December 2018, Wood Mackenzie predicted that, with 16 GW of offshore wind power capacity installed in Europe as of the end of 2018, more than 47 GW was expected to come online between 2018 and 2027.
In September 2018, International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol predicted that the global offshore wind industry could reach 200 GW by 2040, but with support from governments it has even greater potential.
The IEA’s executive director said the agency anticipated that by 2030 wind would be Europe’s leading source of power. He said the IEA anticipates that globally the EU will remain the market’s largest player and with strong support from governments, global offshore wind capacity could grow much more strongly, and reach a level of 350 GW by 2040.