Rise and Rise of Offshore Wind and the Opportunities for the Subsea Industry

By Shashank Krishna
September 21, 2020

THE OFFSHORE WIND OPPORTUNITY

BP’s decision in September 2020 to enter the offshore wind marks another significant win for the offshore wind industry. While the global renewable energy investments have been remarkably resilient in 2020 despite the pandemic and the attendant economic disruption, the offshore wind sector has been a standout area for the renewables.

According to the latest research from BloombergNEF[1] (BNEF), the Offshore wind financings in the first half of 2020 totalled approx. $35 billion, up 319% year-on-year, well above 2019’s record full-year figure of $31.9 billion, making it one of the busiest 1H ever for offshore wind.

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Offshore Wind Outlook 2019[2], offshore wind is set to expand strongly into a $1 trillion business over the next two decades growing by 13% / year. This is on the back of an impressive growth of 30% / year between 2010 and 2018. There are nearly 150 new offshore wind projects in development around the world.

The future for offshore winds looks even more promising.

According to the IEA, under the current plans and scenarios, the offshore wind sector is expected to see investments in the range of $840 billion to $1.2 trillion over the next two decades.

The IEA’s technical analysis suggests that offshore wind’s technical potential is 36 000 TWh / year for near-shore installations. Global electricity demand is currently 23 000 TWh. If the offshore wind installations move further away from the shores into deeper waters as is presently underway, floating turbines could unlock enough energy to meet the world’s total electricity demand 11 times over by 2040. This means that offshore wind can become the mainstay of future electricity systems in the key markets – an important reason why the offshore wind industry is attracting increasing investor interest, including from the likes of oil & gas supermajors and financial institutions.

[1] https://about.bnef.com/blog/colossal-six-months-for-offshore-wind-support-renewable-energy-investment-in-first-half-of-2020/

[2] IEA (2019), Offshore Wind Outlook 2019, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/offshore-wind-outlook-2019

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