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Report: Rapid growth of offshore wind will spark ocean space race



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HØVIK, Norway – The exponential growth of offshore wind energy will be the main driver of a nine-fold increase in demand for ocean space by mid-century, according to global risk management and insurance firm DNV The future of the ocean until 2050 report. The report predicts that by mid-century offshore wind will require an ocean space equivalent to Italy’s landmass. Growth will be particularly pronounced in regions with long coastlines and which currently have low penetration of offshore wind. Demand for ocean space is expected to increase 50-fold in the Indian subcontinent and 30-fold in North America.

DNV says the rising winds will be crucial for the transformation of the “blue economy”. Currently, 80% of capital expenditure in this economic sector is invested in offshore oil and gas, but by 2050 that number will have fallen to 25%. By then, offshore wind will receive the largest investments, accounting for half of all capital expenditures. The declining importance of oil and gas will be largely responsible for the fact that investment inflows into the blue economy will be lower in 2050 than today, while operating expenses will rise below. GDP growth. The blue economy will be more focused on Asia, with China expected to account for more than a quarter of investment by 2050 as it strengthens its offshore wind capacity and marine aquaculture.

“The blue economy is entering a period of sectoral and geographic diversification,” said Remi Eriksen, group president and CEO of DNV. “Currently, the regions that benefit the most from the ocean in economic terms are those that have access to oil and gas deposits off their coasts. But as the world decarbonises and the need for renewable energy grows, countries that cannot be part of the fossil fuel age may be part of the Wind Age.

DNV says Asia’s growing economic power and energy transition will also have an impact on the maritime sector. After years of faster-than-GDP growth, maritime trade will only grow by 35% by 2050, while global GDP will almost double. Bulk will remain the most important segment of the merchant fleet, despite reduced demand for coal transport. Oil tankers will be overtaken by container ships as the second largest segment, although demand for LNG carriers remains robust. COVID 19 will not have a long-term impact on the cruise industry and the capacity of berths will triple by 2050.

Aquaculture production will more than double by mid-century, approaching the level of wild catches. But seafood (both domestic and marine) will only account for 9% of global protein demand in 2050. Total sustainable annual catches are expected to reach 95 million metric tonnes by mid-century, exceeding the maximum yield of fish. marine capture fisheries and stressing the need for optimal fisheries management.