The Offshore Wind Industry Looks Ahead for “New Era of Growth”, 21.1 GW of Energy Added Last Year


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According to the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC), the offshore wind industry had its best year ever in 2021 with 21.1 GW connected to the grid. This report was released in conjunction with the United Nations Ocean Conference.

According to the report, the offshore wind industry is poised for dramatic growth. Governments are turning to the technology to set new goals in their quest for energy security and affordability. They also aim to achieve net zero emission ambitions. These upgraded targets will help deliver even more record-breaking years starting in 2025.

The GWEC’s Global Offshore Wind Report 2022 reveals that governments are becoming more ambitious in offshore wind. GWEC Market Intelligence raises its 2030 outlook by 45.3 GW (16.7%) over last year’s report. It believes that 260 GW more offshore wind capacity can be added between 2022-2030. This would bring the total number of global offshore wind installations to 316 GW at the end of this decade.

Speaking from UNOC Lisbon Ben Backwell, GWEC CEO said “It’s been an amazing year for the offshore winds sector. The unique opportunity that offshore wind presents for governments around the globe is being recognized by governments. It can provide secure, affordable, and clean energy as well as foster industrial development. We now need to quickly implement our ambitions and build a healthy, “fit for growth,” global supply chain”.

At the exact same time, the Wind industry must take its place in the ocean ecosystem as a key custodian, as it grows into one of the most important marine-based businesses. To ensure that we grow in harmony with biodiversity and conservation goals, we need to collaborate with Ocean communities and stakeholders.

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“Working together, we can create a secure and clean energy system that produces power and helps the world achieve net zero.”

Offshore wind is already in a crucial position to reach net-zero because of its political commitment. As they seek to protect their energy supply, the governments have increased their offshore wind targets in response to the energy crisis and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to the Global Offshore Wind Report 2022, the target for government capacity in the world will be around 370 GW by 2031. This is close to the GWEC/IRENA Offshore Wind Energy Compact goal of 380 GW of offshore wind installations by 2030.

To reach the 380 GW target by 2030, a huge effort must be made to make these goals a reality. Industry, government, and other stakeholders need to work together to ensure seabed concessions get licensed at the correct pace. To make planning easier and more efficient, and to ensure auctions and procurement systems that can provide sustainable prices that recognize the system as well as the social value of offshore wind power.

Governments and the private sector must work together to ensure a functioning global supply chain that can scale up quickly over the next decade to support growth. The health of the supply chains is currently under threat by inflationary pressures from rising commodity and logistics prices, as well as uneven demand growth and pricing.

If we fail to act, offshore wind could be a force for energy transition at large, creating thousands of jobs locally and nationally, and supporting energy security.

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Ulrik Stridbaek is Vice President, Head for Regulatory Affairs at Orsted. He stated: “The global offshore winds industry is at a critical point. We are seeing political ambitions rise exponentially. On the other, however, the industry is experiencing increasing costs and disruptions in supply chains that are jeopardizing its ability to achieve these long-term goals.”

“GWEC’s Global Offshore Wind Report provides a critical moment for the industry to review these issues and discuss ways to unlock the investment needed to enable offshore wind to contribute to keeping 1.5 degrees alive.”


From 2020 to 2021 there was a threefold increase in grid connections worldwide, with 21.1GW of new installations increasing global capacity to 56GW. Offshore wind now accounts for 7% of global cumulative installations, a 58% increase year-over-year.

These data show clearly what closely-aligned ambitions and actions can achieve. China contributed 80% to new offshore installations in last year. This makes 2021 the fourth consecutive year of the country leading the world in the new installation. Vietnam’s proactive approach has resulted in more capacity. The Global Offshore Wind Report 2022 predicts that Asia will become the largest offshore market by 2022. According to the report, Europe could regain the crown in 2031.

It was also the year floating offshore wind passed the demonstration phase and entered the pre-commercial phase with 57 MW. This brings the global total to 121.4 MW. 48 MW of those new installations were located in the UK, while 5.5 MW was in China, and 3.6 in Norway.

According to the Global Offshore Wind Report 2022, 315 GW more offshore wind capacity will be added by 2031. This is close to GWEC/IRENA’s goal of 380 GW in 2030 to create a net-zero pathway. The volume of offshore wind installations per year is expected to increase by more from 21.1 GW in 2021 to 54.9 GW in 2031. This will mean that offshore’s share in new global wind installations will grow from 23% in 2021 and at least 30% in 2031.

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GWEC’s 2030 global floating wind forecast has been updated by 14%. It is based on the UK’s increased floating wind target and the accelerated floating project development activities in Europe and Asia. This brings the global floating project pipeline up to 120 GW.

GWEC Market Intelligence identified over 700GW of offshore wind projects at various stages of development around the world. Of these, 120 GW are floating wind.

23 GW of offshore wind projects is currently under construction. Europe has a 49.5% market share and is currently leading offshore wind project construction. Asia (46.4%) follows. The US ( 4.1%). China is the largest market, with 7.8 GW currently under construction. Next are the UK (5.6 GW), Netherlands (2.33 GW), Taiwan (2.1 GW), France (1.4 GW), and Germany (1.11 GW).

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