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Reflecting on a Week Where the Global Offshore Opportunity Shined Bright

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

In our final #RUKGOW19 blog, Global Wind Energy Council CEO Ben Backwell, reflects on one of our most successful, international events. Ben is a leading commentator and strategist in the renewable energy sector. He worked as a journalist and analyst for 20 years, covering energy policy, markets and large energy companies in Europe, the US, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and other countries.

During the week of 24th June, the UK was the epicentre of the global offshore wind industry. From the North West to Isle of Wight and of course in London during the highly successful Global Offshore Wind conference, we hosted governments and partners from around the world to champion what the UK has achieved and discuss how we can spread that success elsewhere.

In March, we announced a landmark partnership with the World Bank Group’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program and the International Finance Corporation on efforts to accelerate the uptake of offshore wind in emerging markets. As part of this activity, we welcomed a vibrant delegation from 15 countries for a series of official meetings and visits ranging from meetings with BEIS and the ORE Catapult through to visits to key supply chain businesses and discussions with local mayors.

The delegation organised with the World Bank was not alone that week. Japan represents a hugely promising offshore wind market and as part of the strengthening of our relationships with the industry and supply chain partners there, we were pleased to host representatives from the Japan Wind Power Association and Japan Ports and Harbour Association to a series of site visits. This included visiting Ørsted’s Burbo Bank and MHI Vestas’ manufacturing facility at the Isle of Wight.

During Global Offshore Wind we also organised panel discussions between leading industry players and the two delegations. Seeing industry and representatives from the next generation of offshore wind markets engage in open and frank dialogue about opportunities, and challenges too, shows the strides we have taken as an industry in building bridges with regulators and seeking joint and lasting solutions. It also demonstrates how we can take our learnings from previous markets and use that to seek workable solutions that are specific to the needs of each market.

With more and more markets wanting to capitalise on offshore, and quickly so, the timing for such activity has never been more important. Our most recent Global Offshore Wind Report, developed by GWEC Market Intelligence, shows that we have the potential to grow offshore to 200GW of capacity by 2030. This upside scenario takes the momentum of 21% average annual growth since 2013 and carries that forward into a world where we capture additional potential. Such potential stems from the advancement of floating technology, increased cost competitiveness and therefore greater volume in mature markets, and the opening up of new offshore markets.

Based on this scenario, a more positive outlook of over 200GW installed capacity between now and 2030 is possible, totalling approximately 220GW installed capacity. Under a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario we still expect double-digit growth for the global offshore market based on current policies and expected auctions and tenders. This scenario makes annual installations of 15 to 20GW after 2025 realistic based on growth in China and other Asian markets, amounting to 165GW of new installed capacity globally between now and 2030. This would bring the total installed capacity to nearly 190GW.

The potential is within our grasp and during Global Offshore Wind week, I saw the ambition of our industry and governments to seize this opportunity too. We have learned much over the past three decades with offshore evolving from being a test concept powering a handful of homes to becoming a proven, established technology that powers millions. Now we are at the cusp of the next revolution in offshore. One where the achievements and successes of markets such as Europe and China are no longer the exception and increasingly the world recognises and seeks to capitalise on the benefits of offshore wind as a norm.



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