OFFSHORE wind power has the potential to increase its output from 13 gigawatts (GW) in 2015 to more than 100 GW in 2030 thanks to technology advances and steadily falling costs, according to an analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The report, entitled, nnovation Outlook: Offshore Wind, was released on Monday at the World Wind Energy Conference in Tokyo.
“Offshore wind power is poised to become a leading power generation technology in a decarbonized global economy,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, in an introduction to the study.
“Now that onshore wind power is cost-competitive with conventional power generation technologies, more attention is shifting to offshore applications, characterized by high technical power generation potential,” he added.
Technology innovation will be a key driver of the offshore wind boom, the report stressed. Upcoming innovations that will enable sector development highlighted by the report include next generation wind turbines with larger blades and floating turbines, which will open up new markets in deeper waters.
These developments along with other advances in renewable energy technology such as improved transmission systems, will reduce average costs for electricity generated by offshore wind farms by 57 percent over the next 30 years, from $170 per megawatt hour (MWh) in 2015 to $74 per MWh in 2045, the report said.
“The potential for offshore wind is enormous, but to realize it, governments must support technology innovation, and implement mechanisms to reduce technical risk and finance costs,” Stefen Gsaenger, Secretary-General of the World Wind Energy Association, said in a statement. “This report from IRENA helps lay the foundation for this needed action.”
The report provides several recommendations for the effective implementation of policy mechanisms and incentive programs to support offshore wind technology. Recommendations include provisioning targeted research and development funding, and supporting information sharing and skills development, as well as various financial incentives for wind.
The report is part of the Innovation Outlook series produced by IRENA, which highlights innovations and future outlooks for various renewable energy technologies. Other reports in the series cover mini grids and advanced liquid biofuels.