China installed half of new global offshore wind capacity during 2020 in record year

China installed half of new global offshore wind capacity during 2020 in record year

25 February 2021 — According to the latest data released by GWEC Market Intelligence, the global offshore wind industry had its second-best year ever in 2020. A total of 6 GW of new capacity was installed, nearly the same levels as the previous year and keeping growth on track despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic felt in other energy sectors.

Total global offshore wind capacity

Total global offshore wind capacity is now over 35 GW — a 106 per cent increase over the past 5 years alone — helping the world avoid 62.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

This is equivalent to taking over 20 million cars off the road, and providing a Green economic recover with around 700,000 jobs globally over the projects’ lifetimes.


This growth was driven by a record year in China, which leads the world in new annual offshore wind capacity for the third year in a row. China installed over half of the new offshore wind capacity globally last year, with over 3 GW of new offshore wind capacity in 2020.

Feng Zhao, Head of Market Intelligence and Strategy at GWEC, commented, “The continued growth of the offshore wind industry globally throughout the pandemic is a testament to the resilience of this booming industry. Although China was hit first by the COVID-19 crisis, the impacts on the offshore wind sector were minimal, resuming business-as-usual as early as March 2020. China’s record-breaking growth is expected to continue in 2021, driven by an offshore wind installation rush to meet China’s Feed-in-Tariff deadline by the end of this year.”

While Europe remains the largest offshore wind market globally, Asia Pacific will play an increasingly important role driving industry growth as major economies such as Japan and South Korea have recently established ambitious offshore wind targets.

Feng Zhao, Head of Market Intelligence and Strategy at GWEC

“The US will also become an increasingly important market for offshore wind, as the new administration has made it clear they are working to accelerate growth of this crucial industry,” he added.


Offshore wind is increasingly cementing its role as one of the most crucial technologies to decarbonise our energy system and achieve net zero.

Alastair Dutton, Chair of Global Offshore Wind Task Force at GWEC

“Yet, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to offshore wind’s massive potential. The World Bank Group reports that there is over 71,000 GW of offshore wind potential globally with current technology, and tapping into this resource will be key to keep global warming below 1.5°C pre-industrial levels, while generating significant economic benefits.”

“To realise this potential, industry and government collaboration will be key, along with stable policies to provide a long-term horizon for industry growth. Accelerating the commercialisation of floating offshore wind this decade will also be crucial to open new doors for the sector, and capture more wind resource than ever possible,” Dutton added.


New offshore wind capacity in 2020

  1. PR China – 3,060 MW
  2. Netherlands – 1,493 MW
  3. Belgium – 703 MW
  4. UK – 483 MW
  5. Germany – 237 MW
  6. South Korea – 60 MW
  7. Portugal – 17 MW (floating)
  8. US – 12 MW

Top 5 offshore wind markets for cumulative capacity

  1. UK – 10,206 MW
  2. China – 9,898 MW
  3. Germany – 7,730 MW
  4. The Netherlands – 2,611 MW
  5. Belgium – 2,259 MW