Offshore Renewables for a Global Blue Economy

Oceans are a source of abundant renewable energy potential, capable of driving a blue economy. Energy harnessed from oceans, through offshore renewables, can contribute to the decarbonization of the power sector and other end user applications relevant for a blue economy (e.g., shipping, cooling, water desalination).

Offshore renewables include offshore wind (fixed and floating foundations), ocean energy (wave, tidal, ocean thermal energy conversion, salinity gradient) and floating PV technologies. Some of the key trends seen in Offshore RE’s are:

  • IRENA foresees a promising outlook for Offshore and floating wind systems growing almost from 34 GW in 2020 to around 380 GW in 2030.
  • On ocean energy, from a current global installed capacity of 0.5 GW, IRENA has identified a project pipeline across the globe adding up to close 4 GW of planned additional installed capacity.
  • Floating PV is an emerging technology following a rapid growth, with around 2.6 GW installed in 2020.

Despite positive Offshore RE trends, certain challenges are preventing a faster scale up and adoption of these technologies in countries:

  • Offshore renewables roadmaps and policy instruments: In decarbonization discussions, it has been observed that marine energy solutions and offshore roadmaps are not featured as prominently when compared to others source of renewable energy.
  • Research, development, and deployment funding: Offshore technologies are in major need of funds, especially ocean energy to push technologies towards the commercial stage.
  • Build marine spatial knowledge and evaluate its impact: In many countries there is no properly defined a comprehensive marine spatial planning to enable a successful roll out of offshore renewable technologies in several countries.
  • Permitting process and construction periods: It has been observed that processes around applying for grid, construction and other permitting are halting a smooth implementation of offshore renewable projects.

International collaboration is critical to exchange lesson learnt, good practices and innovative solutions to address the issues listed above. IRENA, together with the Governments’ of Denmark, Colombia and Costa Rica organised this side event to convene a range of stakeholders and experts in order to discuss the following:

  • The synergies between offshore renewables and an ocean-based Global Blue Economy
  • The status and outlook of Offshore Renewable Energy technologies and markets
  • Good practices on policy instruments to support the scale up of offshore renewables at country level
  • Latest initiatives from the incumbent industry and private sector for an accelerated market growth for offshore renewables globally
  • Priority areas for international collaboration

The summary of the event can be found here.