GlobalData, a research firm based in Britain, conducted a study on offshore wind that estimates the industry will grow by about 30% annually until 2020 to a total of approx. 40GW. And to give you an idea of how much electricity a GW can power, it amounts to around 250,000 homes.
From 2006 to 2013 the offshore global capacity grew from 1GW to a little over 7GW, with Britain taking the lion’s share at around 50%. However, if we look at Canada’s contribution to offshore global capacity, we stand at a big fat ‘0’. Despite having ample coast lines, there have been no offshore wind projects installed or under construction. (Although, Canada’s onshore wind capacity currently sits at around 8.5GW.)
There are, however, two large offshore wind farms planned for Canada in the future:
- Beothuk Energy Inc. – Planning a $400 million, 180MW offshore wind farm in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, close to Newfoundland.
- Naikun Wind Energy Group Inc. – Planning a 400MW offshore wind farm in the Hecate Strait (Northwest of BC).
Believe it or not, the United States has not seen any offshore wind projects to fruition either, despite having had plans for a Cape Cod wind farm for quite some time. Unfortunately, the project has been significantly delayed by politics and fierce opposition from local residents.
When we look at the contribution of offshore wind to the wind industry as a whole, it only amounts to roughly 2% (but is expected to grow to 6% by 2020). Overall, onshore wind is less costly to install, and logistically easier to install and plan for as well. It makes sense that many countries have not yet dedicated many resources to this segment of the wind industry, despite the winds being more consistent and stronger on water.