Asia’s onshore wind industry capacity set to boom

direct-drive wind turbines

Asia could grow its share of installed capacity for onshore wind from 230 GW in 2018 to over 2600 GW by 2050, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said.

Asia would become a leader in wind, accounting for more than 50 per cent of all onshore and over 60 percent of all offshore wind capacity installed globally — by that time.

Global wind power could rise 10-fold reaching over 6000 GW by 2050. Wind could cover one third of power needs and – combined with electrification – deliver a quarter of the energy-related carbon emission reductions needed to meet the Paris climate targets by mid-century.

“Low-cost renewable energy technologies like wind power are readily-available today, representing the most effective and immediate solution for reducing carbon emissions,” IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera, said.

The global wind industry could become a veritable job motor, employing over 3.7 million people by 2030 and more than 6 million people by 2050, IRENA’s new report finds. These figures are respectively nearly three times higher and five times higher than the slightly over one million jobs in 2018.

Annual investment in onshore wind must increase from today $67 billion to $211 billion in 2050. For offshore wind, global average annual investments would need to increase from $19 billion to $100 billion in 2050.

Asia would account for more than 50 percent of global onshore wind power installations by 2050, followed by North America (23 percent) and Europe (10 percent). For offshore, Asia would cover more than 60 percent of global installations, followed by Europe (22 percent) and North America (16 percent).

Within Asia, China would take the lead with 2525 GW of installed onshore and offshore wind capacity by 2050, followed by India (443 GW), Republic of Korea (78 GW) and South-East Asia (16 GW).

Globally, the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for onshore wind will continue to fall to 2-3 cents USD/kWh by 2050 compared to 6 cents USD/kWh in 2018. Costs of offshore wind will drop significantly to 3-7 cents USD/kWh by 2050 compared to 13 cents USD/kWh in 2018.

Wind turbine size for onshore applications will increase, from an average of 2.6 megawatts (MW) in 2018 to 4-5 MW for turbines commissioned by 2025. Offshore applications will likely increase to 15-20 MW in a decade or two. Floating wind farms could cover around 5-15 percent of the global offshore wind installed capacity (almost 1 000 GW) by 2050.