China leads as new global offshore wind projects dip slightly in 2020

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Global installations of new offshore wind farms fell only slightly in 2020, reaching the second highest tally since a record in 2019 despite the coronavirus pandemic, with China installing the most, an industry report said on Thursday.

Many countries globally are seeking to rapidly boost their renewable power capacity as they strive to curb emissions and meet their climate targets.

Some 6.1 gigawatts (GW) of new offshore wind capacity was added last year, second only to 2019 when a record 6.2 GW of new projects were built, the report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said.

China installed the most capacity last year, adding more than 3 GW, followed by the Netherlands with nearly 1.5 GW and Belgium with 706 megawatts (MW).

However, the pace of new projects is still too slow if targets for net zero emissions by 2050 are to be met, GWEC said.

“The world has so far installed only 2% of the offshore wind capacity that will be needed by the middle of this century to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” GWEC's Global Offshore Wind Report 2020 said.

The International Energy Agency said earlier this year 80 GW of offshore wind will need to be added globally each year by 2030 to set the world on course for reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Governments must ensure the right policies are in place to spur faster and increased offshore wind deployment globally, GWEC CEO Ben Backwell said.

"The offshore industry believes they can meet this challenge, but there is a clear target and policy gap that countries need to fill for the industry to deliver," he said.

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