The Winds of Change

The Winds of Change

The Winds of Change

Our Sales Director, Andy Venn, talks about the changing energy sector as part of the energy transition, the growth of offshore wind, and emerging markets.


The Paris Agreement


In December 2015, world leaders from almost all of the world nations (193 countries plus the EU) committed to try to tackle global warming by signing the Paris Agreement.


According to the United Nations, the goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that that crossing the 1.5°C threshold risks climate change impacts, including droughts, heatwaves and increased rainfall.


After the document was signed, this landmark agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016 and has already been making a significant difference to the energy sector as a driving force behind the energy transition.


More recently, at COP28, held in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2023, nearly 200 countries came together to agree to the need to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency improvements by 2030 as part of a “global stocktake” on the energy transition. This demonstrates a renewed global focus on the transitioning energy sector, pushing for more change.


Net Zero


Another key concept driving the world to be more environmentally friendly is net-zero, which means not adding to the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Examples of these gases include carbon dioxide and methane, which increase global temperatures by trapping the reflected heat from the Earth's surface in the atmosphere.


Actions governments are taking towards net-zero include reforestation, introducing infrastructure for Electric Vehicles, and transitioning their energy infrastructure away from oil and gas and towards renewables. 


Many countries across the world have net-zero targets; The UK, US and EU are aiming to reach net-zero by 2050, China by 2060, and India by 2070.


source: GWEC website: we think this is a rather good infographic!



The Energy Transition and Offshore Wind


The World Economic Forum says that “Renewables are the cornerstone of the global energy transition”, and this change is underway – the renewable energy sector is experiencing a significant boom. According to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) World Energy Transitions Outlook, 300GW of renewables were installed in 2022, which made up 83% of all new energy capacity worldwide.


This growth was mainly driven by a significant boom in installing new infrastructure for both solar and wind power. Some regions are well suited to solar, with Australia, China, the US and Brazil being countries who have seen their solar infrastructure develop significantly in recent years.


For wind power, between 2012 and 2022, installed capacity (both offshore and onshore) has trebled – an enormous amount of growth over the last decade. The market is continuing to scale up. According to the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) most recent Global Wind Report, 117GW of new wind infrastructure was installed in 2023, a 50% increase since the previous year. Global leaders had previously been in Europe, with China forging ahead over the last few years, but this could be set to change again as more countries invest in wind power.


According to IRENA’s 1.5°C Scenario, offshore wind capacity would grow to fourteen times 2020 levels, with a target of reaching 500 GW in 2030. Last year was the second highest year on record for new offshore wind capacity.


While northern Europe – particularly the UK, Germany and the Netherlands – has a long history in offshore wind, making the most of the high winds in the North Sea, other countries have also become major players in recent years.


Under the Biden administration, the US is investing significantly in offshore wind, with South Fork already supplying green energy to Long Island, New York, and Vineyard Wind, Revolution Wind, and Coastal Virginia currently all under construction, with other projects in development.

Taiwan has also become a leader in the Asia-Pacific region, on target to have 5.7 GW offshore wind installed by 2025, with several further rounds of tenders planned until 2035, taking advantage of high wind speeds in the Taiwan Strait.


Emerging Markets


Looking to the future, it looks as though offshore wind will continue to grow, with several countries taking their first steps in developing their offshore wind infrastructure.


In 2022, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden came together to commit to building offshore wind capacity in the Baltic Sea. In 2023, The European Commission launched its Wind Power Package, aiming to accelerate wind energy in Europe and to strengthen the competitiveness of European wind energy manufacturing.


More recently, in April, those same countries reaffirmed and formalised their commitment to rapidly expanding this infrastructure by signing the Vilnius Declaration. The Baltic Sea has 3.1 GW of offshore wind capacity today, with plans to increase this to 19.6 GW by 2030.


In the Americas, Canada has planned for its first offshore wind auction in Nova Scotia in 2025, and Brazil is currently creating a regulatory framework for offshore wind, which could be a major step in allowing the industry to grow. Brazil is already a major player when it comes to onshore wind, so they are definitely one to watch.


Australia is also no stranger to renewables, generating a significant amount of power from solar and onshore wind. Whilst it currently has no offshore wind farms, this is set to change soon. In April, six offshore wind projects were granted feasibility licences in Australia's first offshore wind zone, located off Gippsland, Victoria.


As the offshore wind industry continues to grow, it has become a far larger part of the work we do at FoundOcean, grouting wind farms around the globe. This has been underpinned by joining the Venterra Group back in 2021, which brings together companies who support the offshore wind sector through the phases of Engineer, Build and Support.


For more information on FoundOcean’s experience and capabilities, contact the team on +44 1506 440330 or email