GLOBAL – Offshore wind power according to an IEA report published in October is expected to expand impressively over the next two decades, boosting efforts to decarbonize energy systems and reduce air pollution as it becomes a growing part of electricity supply.

“Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, but its potential is vast,” said Dr Birol, IEA’s Executive Director.

“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 added.

The huge promise of 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.

According to the IEA finds global offshore wind capacity may increase 15-fold and attract around $1 trillion of cumulative investment by 2040.

This will be largely driven by falling costs, supportive government policies and some remarkable technological progress, such as larger turbines and floating foundations, the IEA noted.

Additionally, IEA report finds that offshore wind technology has the potential to grow far more strongly with stepped-up support from policy makers.

Europe has pioneered offshore wind technology, and the region is positioned to be the powerhouse of its future development.

Today, offshore wind capacity in the European Union stands at almost 20 gigawatts and IEA notes that under current policy settings, that is set to rise to nearly 130 gigawatts by 2040.

 However, if the European Union reaches its carbon-neutrality aims, offshore wind capacity would jump to around 180 gigawatts by 2040 and become the region’s largest single source of electricity, the report noted.

China is also set to play a major role in offshore wind’s long-term growth, driven by efforts to reduce air pollution.

IEA reported that the technology is particularly attractive in China because offshore wind farms can be built near the major population centres spread around the east and south of the country.

By around 2025, the report noted that China is likely to have the largest offshore wind fleet of any country, overtaking the United Kingdom.

China and the United States are the other countries that are expected to significantly increase their investments in offshore wind power.

China’s offshore wind capacity is set to rise from 4 gigawatts today to 110 gigawatts by 2040 and Policies designed to meet global sustainable energy goals could push that even higher to above 170 gigawatts

The special report on renewable energy was launched this in Copenhagen, Denmark – the birthplace of offshore wind – by IEA’s Executive Director Dr. Birol alongside the Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Dan Jørgensen.