Offshore Wind Outlook 2019

World Energy Outlook Special Report

Offshore wind power will expand impressively over the next two decades, boosting efforts to decarbonise energy systems and reduce air pollution as it becomes a growing part of electricity supply. Offshore Wind Outlook 2019 is the most comprehensive global study on the subject to date, combining the latest technology and market developments with a specially commissioned new geospatial analysis.

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Geospatial analysis

The IEA has undertaken a detailed assessment of the technical potential for offshore wind development in collaboration with Imperial College London. Our interactive map features offshore wind technical potential, classified by water depth and distance from shore, the latest offshore wind projects, and population density. See below for a description of the methodology used to produce this unique online resource.

Notes: Inland dots depict population density of more than 500, 2000 and 8000 people per km2 with darker shades of grey. Offshore regions far from shore shown in lighter shades of orange and purple respectively. Existing offshore wind projects are as of July 2019 and represented by offshore wind turbine icons. Data not available are reported as #ND.

Sources: IEA analysis developed in collaboration with Imperial College London; The Wind Power


Geospatial analysis was performed globally using the "" modelling tool based on the latest reanalysis of satellite data by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) (ERA-5). Regions with wind speeds of less than 5 m/s were excluded from the analysis. Power curves corresponding to specific power output at different wind speeds were implemented for the latest turbine designs (up to 10 MW) and synthesised for designs up to 20 MW for which data are not yet available.

Areas available for offshore wind development excluded areas that are specified for competing uses (i.e. fishing, shipping, defence, and oil and gas exploration and production) and environmental protection (excluding Marine Projection Areas classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN]). Areas close to submarine cables and earthquake fault lines were also excluded.  

For more information of the methodology, please refer to the Annex B of the report.