Global investment in offshore wind energy increased 319% in the first half of 2020 year-on-year despite the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, with financing approved for 28 new offshore wind projects totaling USD$35 billion, more than what was approved in all of 2019, according to a report by Bloomberg NEF.

These projects include the 1.5 GW Vattanfall Hollandse Zuid windfarm off the coast of the Netherlands, the 1.1 GW SSE Seagreen project off the coast of Scotland and 17 new offshore wind projects in China. 

Albert Cheung, BNEF’s head of analysis, says, “We expected to see COVID-19 affecting renewable energy investment in the first half, via delays in the financing process and to some auction programs. There are signs of that in both solar and onshore wind, but the overall global figure has proved amazingly resilient- thanks to offshore wind.” 

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wind energy

Source: BloombergNEF

Tom Harries, head of wind energy analysis, credits this expansion to the rapid fall in cost- 67% since 2012- and a rush from China to finance and build projects before the country’s feed-in tariff expires next year. 

In total, global investment in new renewable energy capacity (excluding large hydroelectric projects) reached $132 billion in the first half of 2020, a 5% increase from the same period last year. Onshore wind and solar investment dropped 21% and 12% respectively. 

Meanwhile, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released its Global Renewables Outlook report, which shows that renewable energy could power economic growth post-COVID-19 by spurring global GDP gains of almost US$100 trillion between now and 2050. The report says that advancing the renewable-based energy transformation is an opportunity to meet international climate goals while boosting economic growth, creating millions of jobs and improving human welfare.