RCG Report: More than 200 GW of global offshore wind projects have entered development since 2020

Despite a global pandemic, 2020 was a year of substantial milestones for global offshore wind. With new projects announced from Colombia to Brazil in the Americas, Spain to Estonia in Europe and Australia to the Philippines in the APAC region, the technology has been adopted by markets at contrasting levels of socio-economic development and distinct geographies. New projects exceeding 500 MW in capacity were announced in Spain, Ireland, Norway, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy, Brazil and Vietnam through to early 2021. Technology continues to emerge as floating offshore wind continues to emerge as a utility-scale option for markets with deep-water seabed areas.

While offshore wind enjoyed a transformative year for market growth, new policies, and targets, fostering development at a government level and ongoing installation across all regions, there remain significant challenges to the industry in meeting ambitious targets and enabling the realisation of projects in the pipeline beyond 2030.

Supply chain constraints across all regions, as well as undefined development frameworks and route to market mechanisms, will limit deployment of capacity across the sector through to 2030. The rate of deployment in the near-term should not be underestimated, however the ambition of government authorities and investors may exceed sector capability in some areas.

Source: RCG’s Global Renewable Infrastructure Projects (GRIP) database*
* Note: Q1 2021 update. Recent project announcements bring the active global portfolio to 510.5 GW

Commenting on the Global Offshore Wind: Annual Market Report, RCG’s COO, Dr Lee Clarke said:

“This year’s Annual Market Report is an invaluable data source and its findings clearly demonstrate that global offshore wind continued to its impressive growth in all sectors during 2020. With a steady and predictable framework, we continue to see positive developments emanating from emerging markets, such as in the APAC and the Americas regions. The ongoing maturation of technology and declining costs for offtake have inspired governments and investors to embrace offshore wind, with many authorities touting offshore wind as a cornerstone to a green economic recovery in the wake of a global recession.” – Lee Clarke, COO

There are five key takeaways from RCG’s latest 2020 Global Offshore Wind Annual Market Report:

1. Record year for capacity investment

The total capacity financed for offshore wind in 2020 reached 8,370 megawatts (MW) across the European, Americas and Asia Pacific (excl. China)* regions, eclipsing the previous total of 6,438 MW financed in 2018. Global investment for offshore wind also set new highs last year as investment reached USD 30 billion, surpassing the previous high of USD 22 billion set in 2018.

2. APAC portfolio set to overtake EMEA by year-end

For the first time, the APAC market portfolio has surpassed the EMEA region in project development capacity. For the first time, the UK – the market leader – will lose its No. 1 global offshore ranking by the end of the year to Vietnam and China, respectively.

Vietnam, with just 99 MW of inter-tidal capacity operational, sports a massive development pipeline of 64.9 GW. Vietnam’s early-stage development capacity is almost entirely comprised of projects proposed under the recent national power development plan (PDP8). Of the offshore wind farms proposed under the PDP 8, many have not disclosed site characteristics beyond prospective capacity. It is therefore expected that large projects located in areas of prominent resources will overlap. As result of potential overlapping boundaries, as well as other constraints such as grid availability and demand, it is unlikely all projects will advance to operation.

China, which has 8.5 GW of offshore wind operational and 30.2 GW underdevelopment – is in second place with a total portfolio of 63.6 GW. Project commissioning took place at an unprecedented rate during 2020. The offshore wind feed-in-tariff (FiT) supporting rapid development and installation timelines is due to expire in 2022, with no new subsidy mechanism announced to date. Developers, meanwhile, race to install projects by the commissioning deadline.


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