Global offshore wind power capacity is expected to reach 560 gigawatts (GW) by 2040 attracting a cumulative investment of $1 trillion, the International Energy Agency's (IEA) new report released Friday finds.
The IEA published its Offshore Wind Outlook 2019 report that included the latest technologies and market developments in the sector.
According to the report, the European Union (EU), which accounted for 80% of global installed wind capacity with 23 GW by the end of 2018, is set to be the engine for growth.
The EU's installed wind capacity is projected to rise to nearly 130 GW by 2040. However, if the EU reaches its carbon-neutrality aims, offshore wind capacity would surpass 170 GW by 2040.
This increase will make offshore wind the region's largest source of electricity, the report unveils.
The IEA finds that China is also set to play a major role in offshore wind's long-term growth, driven by efforts to reduce air pollution.
"The technology is particularly attractive in China because offshore wind farms can be built near the major population centers spread around the east and south of the country," the report read.
China's offshore wind capacity is set to rise from 4 GW today to 110 GW by 2040 while policies designed to meet global sustainable energy goals could push that even higher to above 170 GW, according to the report.
The U.S., Japan, Korea and India will follow the EU and China in terms of capacity increase in offshore wind power.
-Technological progress triggers further growth
The increase in offshore wind capacity is driven by falling costs, supportive government policies and some remarkable technological progress, such as larger turbines and floating foundations, the IEA report shows.
"In the past decade, two major areas of technological innovation have been game-changers in the energy system by substantially driving down costs: the shale revolution and the rise of solar PV,” the IEA's Executive Director Fatih Birol was quoted as saying.
"And offshore wind has the potential to join their ranks in terms of steep cost reduction," he noted.
Birol will launch the report on Friday in Copenhagen, Denmark - considered the birthplace of offshore wind.
The IEA also disclosed that the huge potential in offshore wind is underscored by the development of floating turbines that could be deployed further out at sea.
"In theory, they could enable offshore wind to meet the entire electricity demand of several key electricity markets several times over, including Europe, the United States and Japan," the report said.
Although offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, Birol affirmed that its potential is vast.
"More and more of that potential is coming within reach, but much work remains to be done by governments and industry for it to become a mainstay of clean energy transitions," he stated.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya