In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Offshore wind could power the entire world, says a new IEA report.
  • South Korea lays the foundation to expand their own offshore wind farm initiatives.
  • There’s a more eco-friendly way to cultivate rice.
  • Costa Rica holds its first green technology fair.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Offshore wind could be a $1 trillion industry

The International Energy Agency (IEA) today published an excerpt from a report called “Offshore Wind Outlook 2019” that states that “offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 TWh per year worldwide. This is more than 18 times global electricity demand today.”

The IEA finds that global offshore wind capacity may increase 15-fold and attract around $1 trillion of cumulative investment by 2040. This is driven by falling costs, supportive government policies, and some remarkable technological progress, such as larger turbines and floating foundations. That’s just the start — the IEA report finds that offshore wind technology has the potential to grow far more strongly with stepped-up support from policymakers.

Europe currently leads in offshore wind development and will continue with innovation and implementation. China is likely to have the largest offshore wind fleet by 2025 and is expected to surpass the UK.

IEA executive director Dr. Fatih Birol said:

Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, but its potential is vast. More and more of that potential is coming within reach, but much work remains to be done by governments and industry for it to become a mainstay of clean energy transitions.

The full report will be published on November 13.

South Korea offshore wind farm growth

Here’s a good case study for the above report: The South Korean offshore wind market is about to take off.

Dutch geo-data specialist company Fugro has signed a memo of understanding with Korean company Underwater Survey Technology 21 (UST21) that will expand South Korea’s marine projects.

Jerry Paisley, Fugro’s regional director for marine site characterization in the Asia-Pacific region, explains:

By combining Fugro’s offshore site characterization expertise with UST21’s hydrographic capabilities in South Korea, we are now well positioned to capitalize on the growing South Korean wind farm market.

The companies’ joint activity will allow South Korea to lay the groundwork to expand offshore wind farms.

Rice paddies aren’t necessary

Rice paddies use more water than any other crop in the world — but it doesn’t have to be farmed that way. And flooded fields emit a lot of methane.

An organic farmer in Maryland is farming rice with drip irrigation in rows. Farmer Nazirahk Amen tells Yale Climate Connections:

With [drip irrigation], we’ve been able to produce rice with about a third of the water that’s used in paddy production.

Drip irrigation conserves water and reduces methane emissions. Imagine what a difference this method could make in Asia, where 90% of the world’s rice is grown. The world’s demand for rice is expected to rise to 496 million tons in 2020.

Costa Rica’s green lead

Costa Rica held its very first green technology fair this month. It was free and open to the public. The 1st International Fair of Green Technologies in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (FIVERAC) showcased sustainable residential, commercial, and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning solutions.

There were 30 stands that exhibited technologies containing natural refrigerant gases such as the R600, R290, and HFOs, and energy-efficient air conditioning. So, what makes air conditioning greener? Shirley Soto Montero, head of the directorate of environmental quality management, explained it to the Costa Rica News:

Conventional air conditioning units release, on average, approximately 4 tons of CO2 equivalent during their useful life. On the contrary, air conditioners with some type of natural refrigerant emit barely 0.5 tons of CO2 equivalent. Also, they are highly energy efficient, consuming on average only 300 kWh per year, less than traditional units, while at the same time not contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer.

Costa Rica is a leader in green energy: 99% of its energy will be renewable in 2019.

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