offshore wind energy
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The World Bank Group has announced a new programme that will be focused on fast-tracking the adoption of offshore wind energy in developing countries.

The World Bank together with its subsidiary, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will help emerging markets assess their offshore wind potential and provide technical assistance to develop a growing pipeline of projects that are ready for investment by renewable energy developers.

The offshore wind industry has grown nearly five-fold since 2011, with 23GW installed at the end of 2018 and a large volume of planned projects in Europe, China and the US.

Offshore wind now represents about $26 billion in annual investments – or 8% of new global investments in clean energy – and this proportion is set to increase dramatically, with about $500 billion expected to be invested in offshore wind projects by 2030. Read more: At great heights: Optimising wind turbines

This represents an important opportunity for countries with strong offshore wind resources, including Brazil, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Scaling up offshore wind projects

Vietnam’s technical potential for fixed and floating offshore wind is 309GW, while South Africa and Brazil have 356GW and 526GW in total technical offshore wind potential respectively.

This represents a significant opportunity for cost-competitive, large-scale fixed or floating offshore wind projects located close to areas of high energy demand.

“Offshore wind is a clean, reliable and secure source of energy with massive potential to transform the energy mix in countries that have great wind resources. We have seen it work in Europe – we can now make use of global experience to scale up offshore wind projects in emerging markets,” said Riccardo Puliti, senior director and head of energy and extractives at the World Bank.

IFC director and global head of energy and mining, Bertrand de la Borde, also commented: “We see great opportunity for offshore wind development at scale and are looking forward to working with private sector developers to open up new investment opportunities in countries that could benefit from this increasingly competitive source of renewable energy.”

UK leads offshore wind capacity

The UK's energy and clean growth government minister, Claire Perry, noted that the UK is a world leader in offshore wind, with the largest installed capacity in Europe.

“This investment will allow our world-leading expertise to be shared globally to encourage developing countries to move away from dirty coal power and embrace renewable energy, growing their economies,” said Perry.

Led by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP), in partnership with IFC, the $5 million programme is being initiated, enabled by a GBP£20 million grant to ESMAP from the UK government to help low- and middle-income countries implement environmentally sustainable energy solutions.

This work will take place in cooperation with the Global Wind Energy Council and its recently-formed Offshore Wind Task Force, which brings together leading offshore wind developers, equipment manufacturers and service providers.