Most countries set to miss offshore wind targets

A report from The Renewables Consulting Group found that 80 per cent of the 15 countries with offshore wind development targets for 2030 are predicted to miss their stated goals.

 Image by Adobestock
Image by Adobestock

The ‘Global Offshore Wind Market Report: COP27 Highlights’ revealed that only Vietnam, Poland and Denmark are set to meet or exceed 2030 offshore wind targets.

According to predictions from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the world will need an installed global capacity of 270GW of offshore wind by 2030, and 2000GW by 2050. Meeting these targets requires the equivalent of the installation of the current global capacity every year until 2030 and then installation 2.5 times that amount (86.5GW per year) for each of the following 20 years.

To date, research from RCG’s Global Renewable Infrastructure Projects (GRIP) database shows that the target will be missed by seven per cent. To reach RCG’s 2030 forecast, an average capacity of 24.5GW will need to be installed annually.

“In spite of the impressive number of offshore wind projects in development, the majority of countries [will] need additional action to hit their 2030 offshore wind specific targets,” said Breanne Gellatly, partner and global lead, strategy and markets for the Renewables Consulting Group, an ERM Group Company.

“ERM’s report outlines what is causing the situation despite the increased attention on renewable energy, as well as some of the actions policymakers have at their disposal to rectify. The report should serve as a wake-up call to governments, institutions and organisations that plenty of challenging work remains in the fight against climate change.”

According to RCG, there are myriad reasons why countries are falling behind. Considering that planning and obtaining approvals for offshore wind consent takes four to five years on average, the company suggested that regulatory bodies should investigate shortening consenting processes if they are to deliver the ‘significant expansions’ needed.

Wouter Maas, strategy director wind O&M at Fugro said that world leaders can play a ‘huge role in cutting red tape’ and investing in construction of new wind projects, but that the climate crisis is more urgent than this long planning process can accommodate. Whilst building new infrastructure remains critical, he said, additional opportunities to drive efficiencies must be taken in the short-term including minimising downtime of existing assets.

“Countries and organisations need to explore new and creative ways to scale up the production of renewable energy right now,” he said. “One immediate solution could be to invest more in looking after existing structures.

“There are already thousands of wind turbines around the world, but many are coming to the end of their lifetime sooner than they should. Proper inspection and maintenance will keep them operational for longer, maximising energy capacity and production. Indeed, a wind turbine running for just one more year will generate an additional ~20GWh in renewable energy.”

Macroeconomic factors are also challenging as offshore wind faces serious cost inflation due to raw materials shortages and price increases, RCG said, warning that whilst offshore wind remains competitive, these increasing capital costs may continue to undermine targets.