Global Wind Energy to Top 1 TW Threshold by the End of 2023

The global wind energy market will pass the one terawatt (TW) threshold for installed capacity by the end of 2023, according to the latest market outlook from global research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie.

“After needing more than 40 years to reach one TW of installations, the wind industry will reach the next TW of installations within the next eight years, a significant acceleration of growth,” said Luke Lewandowski, Wood Mackenzie Research Director.

The next decade will also see an intensified focus on offshore wind as the sector matures and technology innovation and supply chain development help make offshore development more accessible in different regions. The global offshore wind sector will experience sevenfold growth by 2032 and account for a 26% share of total capacity over the ten-year outlook.

Developers will add offshore capacity in 30 countries in the coming decade, though European countries and China account for 81% of global offshore capacity additions over the 10-year outlook, according to Wood Mackenzie findings.

“If we take a closer look at China, new grid-connected capacity in the region dropped 21% year-over-year (YoY) in 2022, primarily due to a strict lockdown policy that significantly limited capacity additions in Q4,” Lewandowski said. “The projects unable to connect in Q4 will help boost the outlook in China for 2023.”

The China wind power market will rebound strongly in 2023, with developers nearly doubling the amount of annual capacity YoY, on the back of a record year for new wind turbine orders in the country. Over the 10-year outlook, annual capacity additions in China will average 80 GW and account for 50% of new capacity globally.

Excluding China, the rest of the world added 44 GW in 2022, a 4% decrease YoY. A challenging mix of inflation and supply chain disruption caused more than 3 GW of projects to delay into 2023 and beyond, providing a boost to the near-term outlook.

“For the US, developers await tax credit eligibility guidance from the US Treasury, with the ongoing uncertainty impacting near-term installations. However, with policy clarity, approval and investment in transmission projects, and development of the offshore market’s nascent supply chain, annual additions will intensify and average 20 GW per year from 2026 through 2032,” Lewandowski added.

Over the 10-year outlook, more than 343 GW of offshore and onshore capacity will be added in Europe, as the energy crisis has motivated several countries to strengthen existing capacity targets. Offshore wind will account for 39% of new capacity, although onshore growth in emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Uzbekistan, and the repowering of ageing fleets in more mature markets, including Germany and Spain, will also contribute.

Green hydrogen will support demand in the Middle East and Africa, resulting in 72 GW of total capacity additions over the 10-year forecast. Development in the region remains modest in the near-term but will surpass the 5 GW annual mark in 2025 and continue momentum through 2032, with an average annual growth rate of 42% for the forecast period. 

“Unprecedented decarbonisation and energy security policy support in the US and Europe will help the industry recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These markets will also experience a renewed focus on repowering in order to revitalise the assets that were constructed in the early years of the industry’s journey to 1 TW,” Lewandowski concluded.

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