Britain leads the world’s pipeline of 54GW of floating wind projects already commissioned or planned, new figures from trade body RenewableUK reveal.
The lobbyists’ Project Intelligence team have identified the UK’s 8.8GW as the foundation for a global ambition of 54GW for the floating towers.
At 30 MW, Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating wind farm 20 miles off Peterhead, has been generating since 2017. A joint venture of Equinor and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s state-directed future energy company, it comprises five 6 MW bobbing spinners. A second project, the 50 MW Kincardine off Aberdeen, is almost fully operational.
This week Britain’s government announced a dedicated budget of £24 million to support floating projects in the next CfD auction which opens in December.
A significant number of floating farms is expected to come forward as a result of ScotWind’s leasing process this autumn. Crown Estate Scotland has received over 70 applications to install up to 10 GW of new fixed-foundation and floating wind capacity.
The Crown Estate confirmed in July that 300MW of new floating projects have been given the green light to progress to the next stage of assessment in the Celtic Sea, between south west England, Wales and Ireland.
With 7.7 GW planned, the Republic comes second in RenewableUK’s rankings to the UK. Sweden follows with 6.2GW, and Italy on 3.7GW. Norway, Spain and France are also planning to deploy floating wind at scale.
France this week began ‘competitive dialogue’ with 10 heavyweight bidders for 250MW floating wind array off Brittany. The deployment is slated to be the world’s largest when in operation in 2029.
Australia at 7.4GW, South Korea on 7.1GW and the USA with 5.5GW, are the world’s hottest spots outside Europe for floating turbines. China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia are all priming significant projects.
RenewableUK published its research on the first day of its Floating Offshore Wind conference and exhibition in Aberdeen.
Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport in the Scottish Government, told delegates:
“Scotland’s huge deep water potential means we expect floating offshore wind will be vital in our transition to Net Zero.
Once oil riggers, now harvesters of wind
“The ongoing ScotWind leasing process has the potential to transform the energy sector in Scotland, including the transfer of oil and gas workers into renewables and into floating offshore wind in particular. We need to make the most of it”, Matheson asserted.
Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change in Wales’ government, told delegates: “The offshore renewable energy sector is an engine of growth for coastal communities.
“Floating offshore wind is at the centre of our thinking as the sector is entering an exciting stage of development. We’re working at pace to provide solutions for the rapid roll out of this technology in Wales”.