Offshore wind deployment could grow by 650% in 15 years, says IRENA

Technological innovations for offshore wind energy generation hold the potential to grow the sector from 13GW of capacity in 2015 to more than 100GW in 2030, according to new analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

A 160-page report released today (31 October) by IRENA suggests that falling costs of offshore wind energy technology and ongoing technological innovations within the sector could drive a surge in worldwide uptake and deployment.

The ‘Innovation Outlook’ report highlights particular innovations such as floating turbines and larger blades that together hold the potential to boost sector growth and increase market hold. Wind energy innovations are set to reduce the overall costs of energy from windfarms by 57% over time, IRENA says.

Director general of IRENA Adnan Z. Amin said: “Offshore wind power is poised to become a leading power generation technology in a decarbonised global economy.

“Now that onshore wind power is cost-competitive with conventional power generation technologies, more attention is shifting to offshore applications, characterised by high technical power generation potential.”

Policy facilitation

To ensure a continued sector growth, IRENA recommends that governments should roll out policy and incentive programmes as part of a greater movement to decarbonise the energy market. Recommendations include provisioning targeted research and development funding as well as supporting information sharing and skills development.

Commenting on the report, secretary-general of the World Wind Energy Association Stefen Gsaenger said: “The potential for offshore wind is enormous, but to realise it, governments must support technology innovation, and implement mechanisms to reduce technical risk and finance costs… this report from IRENA helps lay the foundation for this needed action.”

IRENA’s latest report comes a few months after a previous report from the organisation that suggested that an international accelerated push to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030 would lead to annual savings of $4.2trn and limit temperature rises in line with the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

Alex Baldwin


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