Offshore wind set for rapid global expansion by 2030

India approves its first 1 GW offshore wind projects in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, aiming for 140 GW installed capacity by 2030.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.File photo

CHENNAI: At COP28 in Dubai, 130 countries adopted a historic target to triple renewable energy by 2030, demonstrating the world’s commitment to accelerate the energy transition onto a Paris Agreement trajectory. To meet this level of ambition and stay on a 1.5ºC pathway, at least 2 terawatt (TW) of wind energy will be needed by 2030, and 8 TW of wind will be needed by 2050. Projections show that offshore wind can deliver one-third of the required global power sector emissions reductions for a net zero world by 2050. To achieve that, the world will need 380 GW of offshore wind by 2030, and 2,000 GW of offshore wind by 2050, according to IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook. The World Bank estimates that there is over 71,000 GW of offshore wind technical potential globally. Much of this growth will come from outside the core historic markets of Europe and China.

Over the last two decades, the sector has achieved remarkable success establishing itself as a mature, competitive, and globally scalable source of energy. Offshore wind provides large scale, reliable power. It addresses the pressing issues of energy resource diversification and enhanced energy security by offering higher capacity factor and large power output. It achieves this without competing for limited land space. For example, the largest offshore wind farm, the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank in the UK, will power 6 million homes annually, once complete.

Acceleration on cards

A Global Offshore Wind Report 2024 released by Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) reveals that at least 10 countries with substantial offshore wind resources and at the frontier of the energy transition are focused on accelerating the growth. These countries include Japan, South Korea, India and Brazil.

This year, Ocean Energy Pathway, an independent not-for-profit organisation, which works with industry, governments, and civil society organisations to accelerate offshore wind in key global markets through investing in high quality technical assistance, has launched operations in Brazil, Japan and South Korea. Preparations for new teams in OEP’s other priority countries, including India and the Philippines, are underway. The report says offshore was poised for truly global growth after 2023 saw the second-highest annual installations as well as key policy developments that set the foundations for accelerated expansion of the industry over the next decade.

In 2023, despite the macroeconomic challenges faced by the sector in some key markets, the wind industry installed 10.8 GW of new offshore wind capacity, taking the global total to 75.2 GW. New capacity increased 24% on the previous year, a growth rate the GWEC expects to see continue up to 2030, if the present increase in policy momentum continues.

Ben Backwell, CEO, GWEC, said: “Installing almost 11 GW of offshore wind is the leading edge of a new wave of offshore wind growth. Policy progress - especially across the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas - has set us on course to regularly install record-breaking capacity annually, and pass the 380 GW target set up by the Global Offshore Wind Alliance. That means offshore wind is on course to achieve the tripling ambition set at COP28 in Dubai.

India makes a beginning

On June 19, the Union Cabinet approved the development of the first 1 GW offshore wind energy projects in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The total cost of these projects is Rs 7,453 crore. These projects are expected to produce about 3.72 billion units of renewable electricity annually. This will result in an annual reduction of 2.98 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over 25 years.

India currently ranks fourth globally with over 45 GW installed wind capacity and the country is pushing forward with ambitious goals. By 2030, India plans to achieve a cumulative 140 GW installed wind energy capacity. India also holds significant potential for offshore wind energy. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) aims to harness an estimated 70 GW of offshore wind energy capacity off the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, highlighting the strategic importance of this resource in India’s energy landscape.

The National Offshore Wind Energy Policy’, notified in 2015, lays the groundwork for the strategic and comprehensive development of offshore wind projects up to the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the coastline. Among all the states, Tamil Nadu has huge potential and Chief Minister M K Stalin has also acknowledged the important role the wind energy can play to achieve net-zero pathway. In 2022, GWEC published a report titled “Tamil Nadu Wind Energy Roadmap: Harnessing Net Zero Opportunities” that says Tamil Nadu can deliver 25 GW of new wind capacity.

In early February this year, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) announced the “Request for Selection” (RFS) for 4 GW of seabed lease off the coast of Tamil Nadu. This development is part of a broader strategic initiative, detailed in ‘Strategy Paper for Establishment of Offshore Wind Energy Projects’, which comprises a tentative tender trajectory for the award of 37 GW of seabed lease capacity by 2030. The notification of India’s Offshore Wind Energy Lease Rules, 2023, further supports this initiative by regulating allocation of sea blocks to developers, thereby ensuring a structured development pathway.

Challenges

Offshore wind projects demand substantial initial investments and involve three broad stages after the award of tender – study/survey; project construction and commissioning; as well as decommissioning. Project activities may span up to 7-10 years across these stages. This implies market barriers must be eliminated to cut investor risk and encourage healthy participation from top offshore wind project developers.

Power points

  1. 2023 was the second best year ever for the global offshore wind industry

  2. A total of 75 GW of global capacity was in operation by 2023 end

  3. New capacity increased 24% on the previous year, a growth rate the Global Wind Energy Council expects to see continue up to 2030, if the present momentum continues

  4. The next wave of offshore wind markets has arrived as governments across Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe are embracing offshore wind

A Growth Framework to Accelerate Offshore Wind Deployment

FINANCING

1.Emerging markets

Get capital to EMDEs by tackling nonfinancial barriers to reduce risk. New models that streamline the participation of blended finance will be critical

2.MATURE MARKETS

Ensure viable pricing for offshore wind. Balance cost and value, avoid negative bidding

GREEN PRODUCTS

Build demand for green products in hard-to-abate sectors

PERMITTING

Speed up the permitting process by establishing single focal points and mandate maximum lead times

WORKFORCE

Develop comprehensive strategy with skill assessment and gap analysis

SUPPLY CHAIN

Bottlenecks are expected from 2026/2027. Collaboration on supply chain and infrastructure such as vessels and ports is imperative to address the challenges. Supply chain diversification is necessary, but trade policies should not slow-down the current deployment

SOCIAL CONSENSUS

Holistic stakeholder engagement strategy and active plan to positively alter perceptions

MODERN AND EFFICIENT GRIDS

Efficient network planning at the outset

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