The energy generated by offshore wind turbines has the capacity to support the entire global electricity demand and will become an increasingly significant component of national energy systems in the future, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The IEA, quoted by the Financial Times, shows that the costs of installing wind power capacity will decrease by about 40% by 2030, which will make renewable energy more competitive compared to fossil fuels.
“It has the potential to change the data of the problem,” says Fatih Birol, executive director of the Agency. He compared the development of offshore wind turbines with two other trends of the previous decade in the field of electricity generation: the exploitation of shale gas and oil and the explosion of the installation of solar energy capacities.
The report of the International Energy Agency is being produced in a time when more and more countries around the world, including France and the UK, have started developing offshore wind farms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, an objective that implies a high need for investments in renewable energy.
The agency also forecasts that offshore wind units will double over the next five years and will be five times higher than at present in 2030. Total investments in offshore renewables will amount to about $840 billion over the next two years. decades, the IEA shows. The expansion of the offshore wind industry will also require the construction of new transport lines, which currently represent a quarter of the total costs of offshore projects.
“Without the consolidation and expansion of the transmission network, there is a risk that significant parts of the power installed offshore will be unused,” the report emphasizes.
Although offshore wind capacity represents only 0.3% of the total installed capacity worldwide, the agency estimates that, by 2040, this category could reach the highest share in the energy mix in Europe.
Offshore investments would be more favorable to the generation being reduced the intermittency factor affecting onshore wind and solar capacities. Last year, China installed more offshore capacity than any other country, the report shows, adding that there is a potential generation potential for offshore wind power of around 36,000 TWh/year – 50% more than the total electricity consumption of the planet in 2019.
The report shows that by extending turbines offshore and through so-called “floating turbines”, offshore wind could cover 11 times the global electricity consumption by 2040.
Fatih Birol noted that an additional reason for optimism is that offshore wind energy requires approximately the same know-how and about the same infrastructure as for offshore oil and gas exploration.
“We see many synergies between the technologies used in the offshore regime for oil and gas and the technologies in the field of offshore wind,” says the director.