Global wind farm installations are surging, but an equivalent acceleration in planning and permits will be needed to meet climate targets, according to the annual report of the Global Wind Energy Council.
GWEC says global offshore wind installations will exceed 12 gigawatts (GW) this year, a near doubling of last year’s record that owes largely to China’s efforts, writes The Guardian.
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While the pandemic caused a small dip in offshore wind farm development (6.1 GW of capacity installed last year, down slightly from a global record of 6.24 GW in 2019), overall capacity is still expected to hit the mark “as China’s wind industry rushes to install 7.5 GW before the expiry of government subsidies at the end of this year.”
China is expected to power past the UK, currently the global leader in the offshore wind market, by 2030.
And that’s despite the UK’s massive, US$8-billion investment in what will become the world’s largest wind farm off the Yorkshire coast. That project, located in Dogger Bank and led by Scotland’s SSE and Norwegian energy colossus Equinor, will use the biggest turbines built to date to generate power for 4.5 million homes.
But far more needs to be done. While GWEC expects to see a further 235 GW of offshore wind delivered by 2030, that will still fall short of global climate targets.
“Under analysis undertaken by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency, the world may need up to 2,000 GW of offshore wind by 2050 to have a chance of keeping global temperature from rising above 1.5°C,” The Guardian writes.
That speedy installation rate will require more than industry sweat and innovation. Commenting on his organization’s call for a “step-change in political action” to cut red tape, CEO Ben Backwell said the “scale of growth we need to achieve for the future of our planet goes beyond anything we have seen before.”