Reports by Wood Mackenzie and GWEC expect massive increases in both onshore and offshore wind installations in future, despite current coronavirus difficulties.
In this uncertain time, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Two reports released this week suggest a massive increase in global wind power capacity. That is, even after last year's record-breaking installations.
As noted in Wood Mackenzie’s report, ‘Global Wind Power Market Outlook Update: Q1 2020’, 62 GW of wind capacity was added globally in 2019, which is a 23% increase from 2018 and the second-highest annual total after 2015 (63 GW).
“A policy-induced build frenzy in China and the US largely drove an 11.5 GW uptick in 2019 global net capacity additions when compared with 2018. Significant contributions also came from Argentina (+676MW YoY), Mexico (+883MW YoY), Sweden (+720MW YoY) and Spain (+1.9GW YoY),” said Luke Lewandowski, Wood Mackenzie Research Director.
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) released the 15th Edition of the Global Wind Energy Report which states that China and US remain the world’s largest onshore wind markets, together accounting for more than 60 per cent of new capacity in 2019.
Offshore wind is playing an increasingly important role in driving global wind installations, with the sector installing a record 6.1 GW in 2019, accounting for a record share of ten per cent of new installations.
The report identifies two major tools to further accelerate wind energy growth: shifting the focus from LCOE to building energy markets that support the long-term sustainability of the wind and renewable industries; and using emerging technological solutions such as hybridisation and green hydrogen to open new opportunities for the sector.
The main driver of this growth was market-based mechanisms, with auctioned wind capacity in 2019 surpassing 40 GW worldwide, accounting for two-thirds of total new capacity and doubling auctioned capacity compared to 2018.
The majority of wind energy installations in 2019 were located in established markets, with the top five markets (China, US, UK, India and Spain) accounting for 70 per cent of new capacity. In terms of cumulative installations, China, US, Germany, India and Spain remain the top countries, collectively making up 73 per cent of the total 651 GW of wind power capacity across the world.
- GWEC expects over 50GW of new offshore wind capacity to be installed from 2020-2024
- Markets to watch for offshore wind include the US, China, and Japan
However the GWEC report strikes a note of caution: 2020 was expected to be a record year for wind energy, with GWEC forecasting 76 GW of new capacity. However, the full impact of COVID-19 on wind energy installations is still unknown. GWEC will revise its 2020-2024 forecast in the light of the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the global economy and energy markets, and will publish an updated market outlook in Q2 2020.
Wood Mackenzie's Lewandowski added, “Impact from the coronavirus is expected to exacerbate an already pressure-filled 27.5 GW two-year build cycle in the US.
“As the production tax credit (PTC) fades, US offshore annual capacity additions will depend increasingly on state leadership. We expect this to yield 23.3 GW over the 10-year outlook period.”
Overall, the global wind power market is looking positive. Undoubtedly the corona virus pandemic will cause all kinds of problems in developing, fabricating, shipping, installing and operating power production facilities. However this will be short lived. Once this is over then the need for clean power generation will be more urgent than ever so there could be a rebound effect for the sector.
The US offshore wind market is probably the most rapidly-developing renewable energy sector in the world.
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By Julian Jackson – writer on technology, arts, blockchain and cryptocurrencies