Floating wind has an important role to play in supporting the development of the offshore wind supply chain and contributing to 50GW of offshore wind in the UK by 2050, according to the study by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. It sets out sets out the potential benefits to the UK economy of floating wind development and the different types and costs of government support that may be needed.
Sian Wilson, senior development manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “At a time when the need to tackle climate change has never been greater or starker, and policy support for innovation, industrialisation and regeneration of high-quality jobs is increasing, the floating wind opportunity ticks all the boxes. Thousands of UK jobs, global exports and clean and secure energy generation are all up for grabs – if the right government support is in place.”
The floating wind industry is at an early stage of development. In Scotland, there are currently two operational test and demonstration scale projects. Elsewhere in the UK, there is interest in future floating wind projects at commercial scale, particularly in Cornwall.
The report indicates that if the contribution of offshore wind is to continue to grow, then floating wind will be increasingly important, contributing at least 10GW by 2050. The global potential market for floating wind is also significantly larger than that for fixed offshore wind due to the extent of deep waters that are suitable for floating but commercially unviable for fixed. This creates an exciting supply chain opportunity if the support is right, says the report.
The report indicates that with the right type and levels of early stage support, it would be possible to continue to grow the floating wind sector in the UK and to benefit from that in terms of industry and therefore jobs.
ORE Catapult’s Head of Insights Gavin Smart, author of the report, added: “Offshore wind will play a significant role in the UK in maximising the economic and industrial benefits of renewable energy generation. However, to reach anything like its full potential will require a significant contribution from floating wind.
“A key part of this study has been industry engagement in formulating and testing assumptions. This has highlighted the strengths of the UK supply chain to serve the domestic and export markets, leveraging heavily from a proven track record in offshore wind and oil and gas.
“With an increasing focus on carbon emissions reductions globally, and the suitability of floating wind technologies to a wide range of water depths and seabed conditions, the UK is well-placed to capitalise on the export opportunities in this growing global market.”