RenewableUK has revealed that the global floating offshore wind project pipeline has increased by 32% from 185GW of capacity in 2022 to 244GW this year.
According to the trade association, the UK has the second largest capacity of wholly operational projects at 80MW across two projects, both of which are in Scotland: Equinor’s 30MW Hywind site in Peterhead, which began generation in 2017, and the 50MW Kincardine Offshore Windfarm. This project is in Aberdeen, consists of six turbines and has ben dubbed the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm.
The UK is beaten only by Norway, which boasts a 94MW floating offshore wind capacity across three projects.
Pipeline of floating offshore wind projects globally in 2023:
|Process stage||Capacity||No. of projects|
|Consented or pre-construction phase||576MW||11|
|In planning system or have lease agreement||68GW||80|
|Early development or applying for lease||175GW||177|
Almost two-thirds (160GW) of the floating offshore wind capacity announced so far is being developed in Europe, with 14% of this (35GW) in the UK. Of this total, 29GW is in Scottish waters.
There is up to £3.6 billion in development funds set aside across 24GW of floating wind capacity with leasing in UK waters.
According to RenewableUK, floating offshore wind will represent well over 50% of offshore wind generation by 2050, contributing roughly £43.6 billion in economic value and creating over 29,000 jobs.
It will also play a significant role in regenerating coastal communities, as £4 billion will be required to adapt as many as 11 UK ports into industrial hubs to prepare for the mass roll-out of floating offshore wind.
“This report shows that although the UK is a world leader in floating wind, other countries are eyeing the massive economic opportunity offered by this innovative technology and are determined to get a slice of the action. The international competition for investment is intensifying rapidly,” said RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail, co-chair of the Floating Wind Taskforce.
“We urgently need a step-change from our partners in government to ensure that this cutting-edge industry can attract billions in investment to boost deployment and build up new supply chains, rather than focussing solely on a race to the bottom on prices.
“To ensure that the UK seizes the industrial benefits of developing state-of-the-art technology and revitalising ports around the country, we need to see sustainable prices to enable stepping-stone projects to go ahead in a successful auction next year, and every year going forward. Leveraging these projects will enable us to replicate the cost reductions we’ve seen in fixed-foundation offshore wind, as well as catalysing supply chain development. We’re determined to make the 2020s a decade of acceleration for floating wind”.
RenewableUK stated it believes that the government’s 5GW floating offshore in the UK by 2030 target remains achievable. But to achieve this, ensuring the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is fit-for-purpose is paramount.
The latest CfD auction round failed to secure any new floating wind capacity, despite 250MW of floating wind capacity being shovel-ready.