Global Expansion of Offshore Wind Power

Over the past decade, offshore wind energy has experienced exponential growth, with countries across the globe investing in the development of offshore wind farms. According to the data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), total electricity capacity in 2011 for offshore wind power was 3,787 MW, which greatly rose to 72,663 MW in 2023. Globally, total investments for offshore wind power were estimated to be about 33.75 billion USD in 20231.

Figure 1. Global Electricity Capacity (MW) for Offshore Wind Power from 2011-2023. Data from IRENA


Based on the 2023 data from the Global Wind Power Tracker of the Global Energy Monitor (GEM), an independent nonprofit organization, East Asia was leading with a 35,580-MW electricity capacity of operating offshore wind farms, followed by Northern Europe (16,340 MW), Western Europe (14,486 MW), Southeast Asia (2,085 MW), Southern Europe (170 MW), and North America (42 MW)2.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Offshore Wind Power

Offshore wind power offers a promising solution to meet energy demands sustainably, but it also presents unique challenges. The table below delves into the key pros and cons of harnessing offshore wind energy.

Figure 2. Top Global Regions according to Electricity Capacity of Operating Offshore Wind Farms (MW). Data from GEM

Table 1. Key Known Advantages and Disadvantages of Offshore Wind Power

Pros Cons
Greater Electricity Capacity: Offshore locations typically experience greater wind speeds compared to onshore sites, resulting in increased electricity generation and higher electricity capacity factors3. Higher Costs: Offshore wind projects typically involve higher upfront and upkeep costs, primarily due to the complexities of construction, installation, and maintenance in marine environments4–6.
Reliable Energy Source: Offshore wind is usually more consistent and steadier than onshore wind due to fewer topographical and anthropogenic obstructions, such as mountains and buildings, respectively. Thus, offshore wind is more stable than onshore wind, making offshore wind power more reliable3. Visual Impact: Offshore wind farms built along and nearby coastlines may be perceived by the community and residents as aesthetically unpleasing due to changes to the views of the seascape4,6,7.
Ideal for Areas with Limited Land Space: Offshore areas offer vast expanses of space for wind farm development, potentially allowing for the installation of larger and more numerous turbines without land constraints. Also, offshore installation does not compete with other uses of land space8. Environmental Impact: The construction and operation of offshore wind farms have the potential to negatively impact marine ecosystems and wildlife, including habitat and migration patterns disruption, noise pollution, and collision risks for birds and bats4,7,9.
Clean Energy Source: Like onshore wind power and solar power, offshore wind energy is sustainable and clean – no fossil fuel is burned and no greenhouse gas emissions are emitted in the generation of electricity7. Grid Connection Costs: Transmitting electricity from offshore wind farms to onshore grids via underwater cables can be expensive, particularly for projects located far from shore or in remote areas with limited grid infrastructure4,7.
Job Creation and Economic Benefits: The development and operation of offshore wind farms create jobs, stimulate local economies, and attract investment in related industries, such as manufacturing, construction, and research7,10. Impact on Fishing Communities and Activities: Offshore wind farms may obstruct fishermen’s fishing areas, displacing them to other sites. Furthermore, underwater cables and turbines may affect the operations of the fishermen and may damage their equipment11.
Energy Security: Offshore wind power helps diversify the energy mix and reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels, enhancing energy security for countries and coastal areas with significant offshore wind resources12. Weather Risks: Offshore wind turbines are exposed to harsh marine weather conditions, including storms, high winds, and saltwater corrosion, which can increase maintenance requirements and downtime4,6.


Offshore Wind Power Roadmap of the Philippines

In line with Philippines’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of peaking its emissions by 2030 and the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) target of 35% share of renewable energy in its power generation mix by 2030 and 50% share by 2040, a roadmap for offshore wind energy was published in 202213.

A total of 178-GW technical offshore wind potential was estimated based on the analysis of the coastlines and surrounding water areas in the Philippines. To maximize this energy potential for the growth of the Philippine energy resources, steps were outlined in the offshore wind power roadmap13 as shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Offshore Wind Power Roadmap of the Philippines

Overarching Step in the Offshore Wind Power Roadmap Associated Processes and Considerations
Set the vision and targets in 2022. Set the 2050 offshore wind power vision.
Set the 2030 and 2040 offshore wind targets.
Set the vision of how the transmission network of the offshore wind power will be created.
Evolve the frameworks from 2022-2023. Marine spatial planning of potential development sites to ensure all environmental and social factors are considered.
Establish the offshore development zones, counterchecking with existing wind energy service contracts.
Department of Energy (DOE) establishes the leasing and permitting guidelines and reviews the environmental and social impact assessment requirements.
DOE establishes a system for auction agreements and prices.
DOE establishes a long-term official government-industry task force, which includes local and international project developers and suppliers to promote collaboration and ensure integration of the roadmap’s recommendations.
DOE plans the capacity building initiatives with the relevant stakeholders.
Develop and install initial offshore wind projects from 2022-2028. This includes actual designing, permitting, auctioning, and construction of the first offshore wind power projects.
Develop long-term offshore wind infrastructure from 2025-2035. DOE studies feasible investments for transmission system upgrades and management processes, and grid connection agreements will be signed.
The DOE, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Philippines Ports Authority will review potential investments for port upgrades and new infrastructure.
DOE and DTI will lead the supply chain development for offshore wind power, educating stakeholders and workers and promoting international and local supply investments.
Establish a pipeline of offshore wind projects after the initial developments to continue increasing offshore wind power’s percent energy share in the country’s total energy mix.


Current Offshore Wind Developments

During the 7th “The Everything Energy” (TEE) forum organized by the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara announced that as of November 2023, 82 offshore wind energy contracts has been awarded, totaling 63.36 GW in energy capacity14,15. These contracts are currently undergoing processes before project realization and initialization. Additionally, Guevara stated that as of January 2024, at least 10 offshore wind projects, with a combined energy capacity of approximately 6.72 GW, are expected to be operational by 202815. She noted that the government is currently looking into the infrastructures of the Philippines ports – whether they are prepared to meet the requirements for offshore wind operations and installations. Furthermore, another challenge identified was that some of the offshore wind development sites overlap with the “No-Build” zones designated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for their radar operations and marine vessel navigation lanes, respectively. Efforts are underway to address this issue through planning and cooperation among relevant government bodies and project developers14. Also, Department Circular No. 2023-06-0200, which contains policies and procedures regarding the issuance of permits and licenses for offshore wind projects, was released in June 202316.


Challenges and Future Outlook

Despite its immense potential, offshore wind energy faces several challenges, including high initial investment costs, regulatory hurdles, and potential environmental impacts on marine ecosystems and wildlife. Addressing these challenges will require collaborative efforts among governments, industry stakeholders, and environmental organizations.

By displacing traditional fossil fuel-based power generation, offshore wind helps improve air quality and reduce dependency on unsustainable energy resources. Moreover, the construction and operation of offshore wind farms create jobs, stimulate local economies, and contribute to energy security by diversifying the energy mix.



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  3. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Renewable Energy on the Outer Continental Shelf. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  4. American Geosciences Institute. What are the advantages and disadvantages of offshore wind farms? American Geosciences Institute
  5. European Commission. O&M tools integrating accurate structural health in offshore energy. CORDIS EU Research results – WATEREYE (2022).
  6. Musial, W. & Ram, B. Large-Scale Offshore Wind Power in the United States. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2010).
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  10. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Wind Career Map. Wind Technologies Office
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  12. S. Department of Energy. Strengthening America’s Energy Security with Offshore Wind. Wind and Water Power Program (2012).
  13. World Bank. Offshore Wind Roadmap for the Philippines. Washington, DC. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO. (2022).
  14. Crismundo, K. Offshore wind contracts surpass current power generation capacity. Philippine News Agency (2024).
  15. Mercurio, R. 10 offshore wind projects to generate power by 2028. PhilStar Global (2024).
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