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“Almost limitless” potential in off-shore windfarms

Credit: Belga

Off-shore windfarms could see their production capacity multiply by 15 between now and 2040. 

This would significantly reduce the global economy’s carbon footprint, the International Energy Agency (AIE) concludes in a report published on Friday. 

“Why are we focusing so much on this report on off-shore windfarms when the technology only produces 0.3% of the world’s electricity? Because the potential is almost limitless,” says AIE director Faith Birol. 

With production costs falling and technological progress increasing, “we are closer and closer to unlocking that potential. But there is still a lot to do before windfarms become a key element in the transition to clean energy, both for governments and industrials,” Birol added. 

The market increased by nearly 30% a year between 2010 and 2018. 150 new parks are expected to be built over the next five years. 

The report, which claims to be the most in-depth ever on the subject, includes a geospatial analysis coupled with satellite data, a wind study, topographies and technical surveys to highlight the massive global potential. 

The conclusion is that “this potential is everywhere, in Asia, Latin America, certain parts of Africa, Australia,” says one of the authors, Laura Cozzi. She added that tackling the current climate challenges “will require a whole range of technologies.” 

Europe is a pioneer in the sector (the first windfarm opened in Denmark in 1991 and Germany and the United Kingdom are currently the world’s biggest producers) and the AIE says they should remain the main instigators behind this progress. But China also has to be taken into consideration. 

Windfarms in the EU today provide a total capacity of nearly 20 gigawatts. This figure which could increase to 130 GW by 2040 when taking into account current policies and new projects. 

According to AIE, off-shore windfarms could reach a capacity of 180 GW and become the biggest energy source in Europe. 

Sarah Johansson
The Brussels Times