Offshore wind power has the potential to grow from just 13 gigawatts in 2015 to 100 GW in 2030, according to new analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Innovation Outlook: Offshore Wind, launched at the World Wind Energy Conference in Tokyo, provides an overview of the future developments that will drive the offshore wind power boom, including technology advancements and further cost declines.

“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. “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.”

Technology innovation will be a key driver of the offshore wind boom. The report highlights upcoming innovations that will enable sector development, including next generation wind turbines with larger blades, and floating turbines, which will open up new markets in deeper waters. These advancements, combined with other sector developments, will reduce average costs for electricity generated by offshore wind farms by 57 per cent over time – from USD 170 per megawatt hour (MWh) in 2015 to USD 74 per MWh in 2045.

“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,” said Stefan Gsaenger, Secretary-General of the World Wind Energy Association. “This report from IRENA helps lay the foundation for this needed action.”

Innovation Outlook: Offshore Wind provides a set of recommendations for the effective implementation of policy mechanisms and incentive programs that would allow offshore wind technology to realize its potential to decarbonize the energy market. Recommendations include provisioning targeted research and development funding and supporting information sharing and skills development, amongst other measures.

The report is part of the Innovation Outlook series, which highlights innovations and future outlooks for various renewable energy technologies.

For more information, visit www.irena.org.

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