EU, US Frontrunners In Offshore Wind Patents: IRENA Report

A latest joint report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the European Patent Office (EPO) claimed that patents over offshore wind technologies are on the rise globally. The report titled; Offshore Wind Energy Patent Insights Report showed that between 2002-2022 patent filings for offshore wind technologies grew on average by 18%. This growth stagnated between 2014-2017 but, in recent years, witnessed a sharp increase in filings.

The report claimed that the countries in the European Union, United States (US) and China from Asia were among the top 10 players in filing and procuring patents globally. “. In the ranking of the top ten countries in filed International Patent Families (IPFs), seven countries are European, with Germany and Denmark in the lead. The USA is third while China and Japan rank fourth and fifth respectively (the Republic of Korea ranks 11th). As for non-IPF patents mainly for domestic markets (i.e. not protected internationally), China leads, which reflects its reliance on a large local market for offshore wind,” the report said. 

The report also said that along the offshore wind supply chain, the largest invention activity took place in floating foundations, logistical capacities, and the potential to support green hydrogen production. “Most inventions for offshore wind focus on three areas: floating foundations, transportation equipment and the installation and erection of turbines,” the report said.

The IRENA report on offshore wind also said that the technology systems are increasingly exploring avenues to strengthen their energy storage and/or hydrogen production to balance power systems and create additional value. “There is emphasis to promote flexibility in energy systems and the patent data reveals that growing interest to integrate energy storage options within offshore wind farms – especially those with hydrogen production capabilities to further accelerate decarbonization activities,” it added. 

Although patent filings for offshore wind technologies showed a steep increase, the report underlined that major and sustained innovations along with a complementary regulatory framework will be required to increase global capacities to ensure its effective contribution in limiting global warming to 1.5°C.