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Weekly data: Nine times more offshore wind in the pipeline than exists

Massive offshore wind farms are being built across Asia, Europe and the Americas – but the world still only has 2% of the capacity that will be needed for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050.

Offshore wind is booming. There will be 44,934MW installed worldwide by the end of 2021, and a further 386,789MW of capacity is at various stages of development, shows data from GlobalData. This pipeline includes projects already under construction, as well as those at permitting, financing and announcement stages.

An offshore wind farm substation in the North Sea. (Photo by Kaisn/Shutterstock)

After years of largely being rolled out in European countries like the UK, Germany and Denmark, the data shows offshore wind is on the brink of going global. Brazil has a pipeline of 40,599MW, despite having no existing capacity, while the US, Japan and South Korea are all set to see their offshore wind capacity increase from just a few megawatts to tens of thousands.

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GlobalData and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) suggest 2021 is the year that China will overtake the UK as world leader in installed offshore wind capacity.

However, GlobalData's dataset also shows the UK having a bigger offshore pipeline than China after 2021. Massive North Sea projects like the 6,670MW Dogger Bank Wind Farm, 3,600MW Vattenfall wind farm and a 4,786MW extension of the Hornsea Wind Farm contribute to a 48,870MW offshore wind capacity pipeline in the UK, set to be constructed between 2022 and 2030.

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At the end of 2020, global offshore wind capacity had grown 14 times compared with a decade ago, showed GWEC’s annual offshore wind report in September. Despite this rapid growth, the authors warned the world remains far off the level of offshore wind needed for net-zero emissions by 2050, with just 2% of the capacity needed by that year currently installed.

Nick Ferris

Nick Ferris is a data journalist based in London.