Overall, wind energy expansion almost doubled last year with 111 GW, compared to 58 GW in 2019. Of the 111 GW, around 34.4 GW of capacity is offshore, up from around 28.4 GW in 2019.
Most of the offshore wind capacity is in Europe, 24.9 GW, and 10.4 GW of European capacity is installed in the UK. Asia accounted for 9.4 GW, with almost 9 GW of this being in China.
IRENA notes 29 MW of offshore wind installed in the North American region, with all the 29 MW in the U.S., where one offshore wind farm (30 MW Block Island Wind Farm) has been in operation since 2016 and another one (the 12 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project) went online last year.
Global renewable energy capacity additions in 2020 beat earlier estimates and all previous records despite the economic slowdown that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, IRENA said. According to IRENA’s latest data, the world added more than 260 GW of renewable energy capacity last year, exceeding expansion in 2019 by close to 50 per cent.
Renewables’ rising share in the energy mix is partly attributable to net decommissioning of fossil fuel power generation in Europe, North America, and for the first time across Eurasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation and Turkey). Total fossil fuel additions fell to 60 GW in 2020 from 64 GW the previous year, highlighting a continued downward trend of fossil fuel expansion, IRENA said.
“Despite the difficult period, as we predicted, 2020 marks the start of the decade of renewables”, said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “Costs are falling, clean tech markets are growing and never before have the benefits of the energy transition been so clear”.