Onshore wind is a proven, mature technology with an extensive global supply chain and offshore wind is also expected to grow rapidly.

Wind Tall

Key findings

Wind power generation in the Net Zero Scenario, 2010-2030


Wind electricity increased a record amount, but more effort is needed

In 2021 wind electricity generation increased by a record 273 TWh (up 17%). This was 55% higher growth than that achieved in 2020 and was the highest among all renewable power technologies. Such rapid development was possible thanks to an unprecedented increase in wind capacity additions, which reached 113 GW in 2020, compared with just 59 GW in 2019.

However, to get on track with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, which has approximately 7 900 TWh of wind electricity generation in 2030, it is necessary to raise average annual capacity additions to almost 250 GW, more than double 2020’s record growth. Much greater efforts are needed to achieve this level of sustained capacity growth, with the most important areas for improvement being facilitating permitting for onshore wind and cost reductions for offshore wind.

Renewable annual net capacity additions by technology, main and accelerated cases, 2015-2027


Wind will grow faster than over the previous five years

Onshore wind additions increase in our main-case forecast, from 74 GW in 2021 to 109 GW in 2027. Onshore wind additions are climbing most quickly in countries that have stable policy frameworks providing long-term revenue certainty, policies that address permitting challenges and plans for timely grid expansion. However, just a small number of countries, including China, Germany and Spain, have so far made improvements in all three areas.

In 2022, annual offshore wind capacity additions are forecast to decline more than 30% compared with 2021 because China’s record expansion of last year will halve now that developers are no longer rushing to beat subsidy phaseouts. Still, global annual offshore wind installations are expected to increase 50% to over 30 GW in 2027, propelled by policy support in the European Union, the United States and China. Taking long lead times and existing auctions and leasing schedules into consideration, further upside potential is possible but limited. Accordingly, offshore wind capacity growth is 20% higher in the accelerated case, with China claiming the majority.

Offshore wind technical potential and electricity demand, 2018


Offshore wind has a remarkable potential

As a part of its Offshore Wind Outlook 2019, the IEA initiated new geospatial analysis to assess the technical potential of offshore wind by country. Its study showed that the best close-to-shore offshore wind sites globally could provide almost 36 000 TWh of electricity per year, which is very close to the global electricity demand projected for 2040. However, several challenges will have to be overcome for this enormous potential to be successfully exploited. Government policies will continue to be critical in determining to the future of offshore wind.
Our work on Wind

The Wind TCP’s mission is to stimulate co-operation on wind energy research, development, and deployment (RD&D). The Wind TCP provides high quality information and analysis to member governments and commercial sector leaders by addressing technology development, deployment and its benefits, markets, and policy options.