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17 June 2024
Renewable Energy

Global Offshore Wind Capacity Increases by More Than a Fifth

Global offshore wind operational capacity has increased by 21% over the last 12 months, from 61.5 gigawatts a year ago to 75GW today.

The new capacity added over the past year generates enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 14 million UK homes all year round, according to a new report from RenewableUK.

China and the UK retain their top positions with 36.7GW and 14.7GW operational respectively. Germany is third with 8.3GW, the Netherlands fourth with 3.7GW and Denmark fifth with 2.7GW.

The report states that global operational offshore wind capacity could reach 277GW by the end of 2030 – nearly a fourfold increase from today.

The global pipeline of projects at all stages of development – operational, under construction, consented, in planning or at an early stage of development – has increased slightly to 1,231GW, up from 1,228GW a year ago, with more than 1,500 projects across 41 countries. This increase is smaller than previous years due to developers refining their portfolios, and improvements in methods of leasing and consenting projects around the world.

China has the largest pipeline (227GW), with the UK second at 96GW across 122 projects in UK waters. The USA is in third place with 94GW, Sweden fourth on 68GW and Brazil fifth with 61GW.

The report reveals that the UK has 15.8GW of offshore wind capacity in the planning system awaiting a decision – the highest amount ever in planning at one time.

It also shows that 10,774MW (10.8GW) of new UK offshore wind capacity are eligible for this year’s Contracts for Difference  auction (AR6) across 12 fixed-foundation projects and four floating projects. The average time for a project to go fully operational after being awarded a CfD is now five years, so the capacity awarded in the next two allocation rounds has the potential to contribute to the UK’s current target of 50GW by 2030. The report forecasts that nearly 44GW of capacity could be operational by the end of 2030 in UK waters, including capacity from projects which are partially operational at that time.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail said:

“It’s great to see we’ve reached a landmark 75 gigawatts of offshore wind operational worldwide, with the UK maintaining its place as a global leader in an intensely competitive international market.

“To consolidate the UK’s position even further, we’re asking the next government to maximise the amount of offshore wind capacity we can secure in this year’s auction for new projects. The current budget will only enable less than half the capacity which is eligible to go ahead and the floating wind budget will only secure one project even though four can bid in this year, so we need to see more ambition within the first few days of the new government taking office.

“It’s also significant that the UK has a record high of more than 15 gigawatts of new offshore wind capacity in planning. We’ll be urging the next government to reform the planning system to enable projects to go ahead in a more timely manner, to increase the UK’s energy security and drive down bills for consumers.”

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