The International Energy Agency, which has headquarters in Paris, said wind energy could meet 18 percent of the world's electricity needs by 2050, compared with 2.5 percent today, with the right policies in place.
The IEA said onshore wind energy development was making substantial progress while offshore wind development was slowly moving beyond its infancy. The United States recently consented to the development of its first offshore wind projects and the United Kingdom has 46 megawatts of offshore projects planned for the future.
In a 53-page report published Monday, the IEA said wind energy has the potential to save as much as 4.8 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050, which is more than the current output from the European Union.
The agency, however, said more financial and regulatory support is needed for global wind energy development.
"There is a continuing need for improved technology," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in a statement. "And for offshore wind, still at the early stages of the deployment journey, much remains to be done to develop appropriate large-scale systems and to reduce costs."