While it may not fulfill this role in the near term, a new report from the International Energy Agency suggests that offshore wind power — referring to wind turbines built in shallow areas of the ocean, relatively close to land — could one day supply all of the world’s electricity needs. Total wind power potential is 36,000 terawatt hours, or 50% more than total global electricity consumption, per the IEA. More immediately, the IEA forecasts that the cost of electricity generated by offshore wind power will fall 40% by 2030, making it competitive with fossil fuels, the Financial Times reports.
- Currently wind power provides just 0.3% of the world’s power needs, but the IEA forecasts it could be the single biggest source of electricity for Europe by 2040.
- The report forecasts that a total of $840 billion will be invested in offshore wind power over the next decade. Installations will double within five years, and increase five-fold by 2030.
- Much of the new construction is in China, which is now the world leader in new wind power installations.
- However the cost of building power lines to transmit electricity is also expected to rise, as wind turbines are placed further out to sea. Currently transmission accounts for a quarter of the total cost of installations, but that will rise to a half.