Offshore wind installations mostly unaffected by COVID-19 crisis, IEA says

This is part of the IEA’s Renewables 2020 report, released Tuesday, noting that renewable power is growing robustly around the world this year, but renewables outside the electricity sector are suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

More particularly, additions are expected to reach a record 7.3 GW in 2021, led by China as developers meet the feed-in tariffs (FiT) commissioning deadline, while the first large-scale commercial offshore wind project becomes operational in Chinese Taipei.

In 2022, despite slowdown in China, offshore capacity is expected to increase further thanks to higher deployment in the United Kingdom and France, and in other markets in Asia. With an extensive slate of projects supported by auctions, the US is anticipated to become one of the largest offshore markets in 2024.

Offshore wind capacity by region or country

Overall, annual net wind (onshore and offshore) capacity additions are expected to reach 65 GW in 2020, 8% more than in 2019.

Covid‑19 measures led to onshore construction activity slowing down from February to April due to supply chain disruptions and logistical challenges in many countries, but the offshore wind sector has been only mildly affected by pandemic delays due to long project lead times.

For 2021, the forecast assumes a further acceleration of wind additions to 68 GW (7.3 GW offshore), driven by delayed onshore projects becoming operational as key countries in Europe and the US have passed regulations providing flexibility for commissioning deadlines.

In 2022, global annual installations return to the 2019 level due to the phase-out of incentives in major markets in China and United States, which is partly offset by faster expansion in Europe.

The share of offshore capacity in total wind additions reaches almost 15% in 2022 – 50% higher than in 2019 – thanks to acceleration in key European markets and large capacity becoming operational in nascent markets such as France, Korea and Viet Nam while the Chinese market slows. The US is expected to join the ranks of the largest offshore markets after 2022.

The share of offshore wind in total wind additions is expected to have increased further by 2025, reaching 20% as deployment in new markets gains momentum.

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