Offshore wind energy is an important pillar in meeting the Paris Agreement targets for emission reductions.

  • According to IRENA projections, to meet decarbonisation targets, the global offshore wind requirement will need to be 1,000 GW by 2050 compared to 60 GW today.
  • The Green Deal strategy, adopted by the European Commission, is a clear commitment to achieving those ambitious goals. This strategy has taken the form of a roadmap that establishes the deployment of 300 GW of offshore wind in the European Union by 2050. According to WindEurope, in Europe alone and in this decade, this will increase from 28 GW installed by the end of 2021 to 70 GW in 2030.
  • At the national level, the Roadmap for Offshore Wind and Offshore Energy Development envisages offshore wind installation targets of 3 GW by 2030.

Source: IRENA (2019), Future of wind: Deployment, investment, technology, grid integration and socio-economic aspects (A Global Energy Transformation paper), International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.

Opportunity and challenge

The wind turbines to be used in offshore wind farms are becoming increasingly powerful; 15 MW will be a standard. These wind turbines are installed on different types of foundations, with monopiles being the most widely used, accounting for over 80%. As the size of wind turbines increases, the loads on the foundations increase and, consequently, so does the size of the large structural parts that support them: the monopiles and transition pieces, the connecting elements between the monopile that is driven into the seabed and the wind turbine tower.

This imposes a number of challenges in the design, manufacture and installation of these components and joining systems, as well as in the treatments and coatings that are necessary for their correct operation in an offshore environment.

Source: WindEurope (2021), A 2030 Vision for European Offshore Wind Ports: Trends and Opportunities

Project funded by the Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment of the Basque Government (HAZITEK 2022 Programme) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF 2021-2027).