Global investment in offshore wind more than quadrupled in the first half of 2020, with financing approved for 28 new offshore wind projects totaling $35 billion, according to a new report by Bloomberg NEF. The investment — more than what was approved in all of last year — comes despite the economic shock caused by the coronavirus.
Among the projects given the greenlight were the 1.5-gigawatt (GW) Vattenfall Hollandse Zuid windfarm off the coast of the Netherlands, with a $3.9 billion price tag; the 1.1-GW SSE Seagreen project off the coast of Scotland, valued at $3.8 billion, and 17 new offshore wind projects in China, including the $1.8-billion Yangjiang Yangxi Shapaat wind farm.
“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,” Albert Cheung, BNEF’s head of analysis, said in a statement. “There are signs of that in both solar and onshore wind, but the overall global figure has proved amazingly resilient – thanks to offshore wind.”
Cheung and his colleagues credit the “colossal” expansion of offshore wind investment to both the rapid fall in cost — two-thirds since 2012 — and a rush in 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 percent increase over the same period last year. Onshore wind investment dropped 21 percent, and solar fell 12 percent, largely due to coronavirus-driven supply chain shutdowns and financial uncertainty.