Floating Offshore Wind Pipeline Sees Explosive Growth

Illustration of a floating offshore wind farm courtesy Damen

Floating Offshore Wind Pipeline Sees Explosive Growth

Mike Schuler
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October 12, 2022

The global pipeline of floating offshore wind projects has more than doubled in terms of capacity in the past year with the UK leading the charge, according to a new report by RenewableUK.

According to the report, the number of projects in the global pipeline, spanning from those in early planning stages to operational, has increased from 130 projects to 230 projects in just the last 12 months. In terms of capacity, the pipeline has expanded from 91GW a year ago to 185GW today.

The pipeline in the UK is much larger than that of any other country. A year ago, the UK had 23GW worth of floating wind capacity in the pipeline, compared to over 33GW today. Over the same period, the number of projects has increased from 29 to 51, with projects planned in the North Sea, Celtic Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.

Among the 185GW global pipeline, nine projects representing 121MW capacity are fully commissioned in seven countries. Another 96MW worth of projects are under construction, 288MW are consented or in the pre-construction phase, 31GW are in planning or has a lease agreement, and 153GW are in early development or in the leasing process.

Europe represents approximately 58%, or 107GW, of the floating capacity pipeline, while UK represents 18% with 33.3GW, of which 29GW is planned in Scottish waters. Outside Europe, leasing areas off the west coast of the United States, along with project proposals off the south east coast of Australia and South Korea, make up the majority of the rest of the capacity.

The report states that by the end of 2030, commissioned floating wind capacity in the UK could reach 11GW, with 31GW in Europe and 41GW globally.

The report also notes that demand for floating foundations is expected to ramp up fast, with the potential for nearly 1,000 floating foundations to be installed in UK waters by the end of 2030, with 3,200 floating foundations installed globally by the end of the decade.

“The growth of floating offshore wind is surging ahead at a phenomenal rate year on year around the world. We’re proud that the UK is a global leader in this innovative technology with nearly a fifth of the total pipeline – significantly greater than any other country,” say RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail. “In the years ahead, as we build projects further out to sea where wind speeds are even stronger, floating wind will play a central role in proving cheap, clean electricity for British homes as well as boosting our energy security.

“It also offers a significant opportunity to build up a whole new industry in the UK, with a world-class supply chain which will enable us to export our expertise and state of the art technology worldwide,” McGrail adds.

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