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Floating Offshore Wind Task Force launched to lay the groundwork to make the UK a ‘superpower’

The UK currently has two operating floating offshore wind farms including Equinor's Hywind project (pictured). Image: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam.

The UK currently has two operating floating offshore wind farms including Equinor's Hywind project (pictured). Image: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam.

RenewableUK has launched a Floating Offshore Wind Task Force to support the UK’s ambition to be at the forefront of the rollout of the technology.

The trade association has worked with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to set up the new body, which will include members of developers and operators of floating projects along with senior representatives from the UK and devolved governments and members of key stakeholder organisations like The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland.

Initially, the Task Force will work to define the scale of the opportunity of floating offshore wind, and produce a report into how to take advantage of this.

The first stage of this work is scheduled to be completed in autumn, and will see the Task Force analyse the speed at which new capacity can be rolled out and the potential investment in UK ports and infrastructure that would be needed to meet this demand. This will be followed in spring by a more detailed series of recommendations.

“The Task Force will lay the groundwork for the UK to become a floating wind superpower in the decades ahead,” said RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail as the body was launched at an event in London yesterday.

“I’m very pleased that we have support from the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to convene this ground-breaking group which will chart our course to capitalise on this innovative technology. It will provide clarity on the strategic investments the UK needs to scale up and deliver a whole new industry, creating thousands of new jobs and revitalising ports and coastal communities around the country. We have the potential to make floating wind a century-defining industrial success story for the UK”.

The UK already has two floating offshore wind farms, with Hywind and Kincardine in Scottish waters. The country currently has the largest floating wind pipeline in the world at over 26GW, according to RenewableUK.

This includes ten floating wind projects that secured option agreements through the latest ScotWind Leasing in January. Of the 74 applications 17 projects were successful, with floating wind outdoing fixed.

Over the first half of 2022, support for floating offshore wind has continued to grow, with more than £60 million in public and private investment being awarded to 11 floating offshore wind projects as part of the Floating Offshore Wind Demonstration Programme, for example.

In May, the government appointed Tim Pick as the UK’s first Offshore Wind Champion as well as putting out a call for information on how to invest the Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme.

Energy Minister Greg Hands said: “The UK is poised to lead the world in floating offshore wind, building on our proud maritime and engineering traditions. This new Taskforce will help power us into the future, making the most of our seas to generate clean, affordable, homegrown electricity”.

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