Floating wind capacity could reach 20GW by 2050

Floating offshore windfarms could provide up to 20GW of generation capacity by the middle of the century, a study commissioned by the Crown Estate Scotland has found.

The analysis conducted by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult also suggests they have the potential to add £33.6bn to the UK economy between 2031 and 2050.

“Floating wind is an important counterpart to fixed offshore wind and will make an increasingly important contribution to realising the full potential of the sector,” the report explains.

“Longer term, floating wind can contribute at least 10GW towards the UK achieving 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050 and large-scale deployment of floating wind will be imperative if the UK is to realise ambitions in excess of 50GW.”

The study looked at two different scenarios – a base case and high case. The UK accounts for a significant share of global installations in both.

In the base case, 10GW of floating wind capacity is built in the UK by 2050, whilst 44GW is deployed around the rest of the world. The figures rise to 20GW and 95GW respectively in the high case.

The report says there is a “substantial” economic opportunity on offer from serving the global and domestic markets.

If installations followed the high case trajectory in the UK and the base case trajectory in the rest of the world, they could be worth up to £2.3bn per year to the supply chain in Britain between 2031 and 2050.

“This would support £2bn gross value added per year (cumulative £33.6bn by 2050) and more than 17,000 full-time employees (direct plus indirect) by 2050,” it adds.

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.”

ORE Catapult’s head of insights and author of the report, Gavin Smart, said: “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.”

Stephanie Conesa, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s deep waters, with some of Europe’s strongest winds, provide ideal conditions for the testing and deployment of floating offshore wind turbines, and are part of the reason why our seas are home to Hywind, the world’s first floating wind farm.

“The recent publication of Marine Scotland’s draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy, which sets out potential future locations for offshore wind farms in Scotland’s seas, makes the success of floating offshore wind in Scotland more important than ever.

“Floating wind provides an enormous economic opportunity for Scotland and its development, as well as that of other earlier-stage technologies, has the potential to provide renewable electricity in locations where other renewable energy devices cannot be deployed.”

In October last year, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, opened the world’s first floating windfarm located 25 kilometres off the coast of Aberdeenshire.

She said the 30MW Hywind Scotland project marked an “exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland.”

The windfarm has since been upgraded with a 1MW battery storage system dubbed “Batwind”.The batteries will be used to explore how best to maximise the value of the power generated.

Adam John

This article appeared first on edie’s sister title, Utility Week

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