GWEC report shows China out in front with 2.3GW of new projects completed in the last year.

The offshore wind industry installed just over 6GW of new capacity in 2019, taking total capacity to 29GW, according to figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

Last year’s installations marked a 35.5% increase on 2018, which saw 4.5GW installed.

Europe remained the largest market for offshore wind, accounting for 59% of the 6.1GW in new capacity additions last year, with Asia-Pacific accounting for the remaining 41%, GWEC found.

China remains the overall leader in new installations for offshore wind, adding more than 2.3GW capacity in 2019, with the UK and Germany in second and third place, installing 1.8GW and 1.1GW respectively.

Next is Denmark with 374MW, then Belgium with 370MW, followed by Taiwan with 120MW, then Portugal with 8MW, all of it floating, and Japan with 3MW, again, all of it floating wind capacity.

GWEC chief executive Ben Backwell said: “In 2019, we continued to see the strong growth trend of offshore wind, which now makes up 10% of total wind energy installations.

“While mature markets in Europe continue to account for the majority of these installations, Asia Pacific is now increasingly contributing to this growth, with China leading the way as the global offshore wind leader in new capacity. It is also exciting to see floating wind capacity being installed in 2019, as once this technology reaches industrial scale, it will open up whole new markets and opportunities for offshore wind”.

Offshore wind accounted for approximately 10% of new wind power installations in 2019, an increase from 5% in 2015, GWEC’s analysis found.

The council expects over 50GW of new offshore wind capacity to be installed from 2020-2024, as projects in emerging markets with ambitious targets for offshore wind, such as the US, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea, are realised.

Looking ahead, GWEC Market Intelligence’s preliminary forecasts predict an additional 50 GW of new offshore wind capacity could be installed by 2024 globally, with total installed offshore wind capacity nudging 90GW by then, an increase of almost 207% from today’s capacity.

Backwell added: “Offshore wind is a huge opportunity to meet our climate targets, as it can replace expensive imported fuels, provide clean energy solutions to countries that have limited for land availability, and supply increasingly competitive zero-carbon energy at a massive scale.

“The economic benefits of offshore wind cannot be understated, with the potential to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in investments, create tens of thousands of jobs and build a supply chain that can all contribute to thriving local economies.”