Erecting wind turbines around the world’s best offshore sites would provide enough energy to power the world, according to a new study by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In its annual Offshore Wind report, the IEA claims that 36,000 terrawatt hours of renewable electricity could be produced on a yearly basis if potential sites were developed.
The sites identified were no further than 60km from a coastline and no deeper than 60m deep, making them feasible sites to be developed.
“Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, but its potential is vast,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.
He added: “Offshore wind provides a huge new business portfolio for major engineering firms and established oil and gas companies which have a strong offshore production experience.
“Our analysis shows that 40% of the work in offshore wind construction and maintenance has synergies with oil and gas practises.”
The IEA concludes that the offshore wind sector will grow 15 fold over the next 20 years and will become a £780bn industry.
According to the report, the industry’s growth will be powered by lowering costs and new technologies as well as a growing appetite for cleaner forms of energy production.
The report predicts that the EU’s offshore wind capacity will grow from almost 20 gigawatts today to nearly 130 gigawatts by 2040 and could reach 180 gigawatts with stronger climate commitments.