China installed half of new global offshore wind capacity during 2020, wind energy council reveals

Installation of an 8MW wind turbine at the Xinghua Bay Project Phase II off China's Fujian province in April 2020 (Photo: Goldwind)

According to the latest data released by the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) Market Intelligence, the global offshore wind industry had its second-best year ever in 2020 installing over six GW of new capacity, keeping growth on track despite the impacts of Covid-19 felt in other energy sectors.

This growth was driven by a record year in China, which led the world in new annual offshore wind capacity for the third year in a row, and installed over half of the new offshore wind capacity globally last year.

Steady growth in Europe accounted for the majority of remaining new capacity, led by the Netherlands, which installed nearly 1.5 GW of new offshore wind in 2020, making it the second-largest market for new capacity in 2020 after China.

Other European offshore wind markets also experienced stable growth last year, with Belgium (706 MW), the UK (483 MW), and Germany (237 MW), all installing new capacity in 2020.

The slowdown of growth in the UK is due to the gap between the Contracts for Difference (CfD) 1 and CfD 2. In Germany, the slowdown is primarily caused by unfavourable conditions and a weak short-term offshore wind project pipeline.

The only new floating offshore wind capacity recorded in 2020 was also in Europe, with 17 MW installed in Portugal.

Outside of China and Europe, two other countries recorded new offshore wind capacity in 2020: South Korea (60 MW) and the US (12 MW).

Overall, global offshore wind capacity now exceeds 35 GW – a 106 per cent increase over the past five years alone.

China has now surpassed Germany in terms of cumulative installations, becoming the second-largest offshore wind operator globally with the UK remaining in the top spot.

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