Dec 17, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Report: The ocean wind economy will need lots of space

Recreated from DNV; Note: Estimates begin after 2018, the most recent year with complete data; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

The evolution of ocean-based industries — the "blue economy" — will include a huge increase in demand for marine areas for wind turbines, a new report finds.

The big picture: The advisory and risk management firm DNV is out with detailed analyses of ocean industries in the coming decades.

What they found: The report estimates that by 2050, about 368,000 square kilometers of ocean surface will be used for the production of energy and food, compared to about 40,000 three years ago.

  • "This represents a more than nine-fold increase in demand for ocean space, and hints at the tremendous challenge for Marine Spatial Planning in some parts of the world."
  • Offshore wind represents the lion's share of the growth, while aquaculture expands, too.

The intrigue: Today 80% of capital expenditures on ocean industries are in the oil-and-gas sector. That's slated to drop as offshore oil and eventually gas production decline significantly by midcentury while wind production surges.

  • "By 2050 the picture is radically different with offshore wind accounting for 50% of capex, and oil and gas will have shrunk to 25%."
  • Another shift: Aquaculture (fish farming) production is projected to double by 2050, approaching wild catches as the latter declines due to overfishing and climate change.

Go deeper: Read DNV's entire analysis

Go deeper