Abstract

Floating wind foundations could unlock offshore wind power generation in deeper and more remote waters. This report examines how quickly floating wind is progressing towards becoming a key contributor to the global electricity supply mix. It contains a special focus on developments in the UK and Scotland, uncovering challenges that could undermine the growth of floating wind, as well as policy recommendations to overcome these.

The floating wind market is growing steadily, expanding from almost zero installed capacity in 2008 to 57 MW in 2018. Looking forward, there is an impressive pipeline of projects for future deployment. By 2030, global capacity of floating wind could be as high as 4.3 GW. Deployment of installed capacity has to date been dominated by the UK and Japan, and the vast majority of these foundations have been designed and developed by companies in Norway and Japan. New entrants, most notably the USA and France, are expected to challenge for leadership in both deployment and design.

Whilst SMEs have played a central role in driving growth in the sector, multi-national energy firms are investing heavily in floating wind deployment and design. These include: (1) oil and gas majors; (2) energy utilities; and (3) Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

Floating wind rated turbine capacity more than tripled and hub height almost doubled between 2008–13 and 2013–18. However, the majority of projects remain single-turbine demonstration projects, with just one array deployed. During the same period, the projects’ distance from shore has doubled to average 11km but their depth has increased by just 7%. However, at an average depth of 65m, projects are operating in waters deeper than most bottom-fixed foundations are economically capable of.

The UK is the world leader in floating wind deployment, with 56% of global capacity. Retaining this future lead will, however, be likely to depend on it retaining an open trading relationship with the EU, a relationship that it has depended on heavily to deliver its two existing floating wind projects. Taking opportunities to grow the UK content of the offshore wind supply chain may help to mitigate some disruption post-Brexit. The removal of the UK’s Renewables Obligation (RO) has created a gap for long-term support of small-scale pre-commercial floating wind projects. Domestic support will become even more important, should the UK lose access to European technology demonstration funding post-Brexit.
LanguageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages68
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019

Fingerprint

Demonstrations
Float
Floating
Wind turbines
Wind power
Supply chains
Power generation
Water
Turbines
Electricity
Pipelines
Lead
Gases
Industry
Japan
Energy
Oils
Electricity supply
Oil
New entrants

Keywords

  • offshore wind energy
  • renewable energy market
  • wind power generation
  • Scotland
  • floating wind farms
  • energy generation
  • electricity

Cite this

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title = "Offshore Wind, Ready to Float? Global and UK Trends in the Floating Offshore Wind Market",
abstract = "Floating wind foundations could unlock offshore wind power generation in deeper and more remote waters. This report examines how quickly floating wind is progressing towards becoming a key contributor to the global electricity supply mix. It contains a special focus on developments in the UK and Scotland, uncovering challenges that could undermine the growth of floating wind, as well as policy recommendations to overcome these.The floating wind market is growing steadily, expanding from almost zero installed capacity in 2008 to 57 MW in 2018. Looking forward, there is an impressive pipeline of projects for future deployment. By 2030, global capacity of floating wind could be as high as 4.3 GW. Deployment of installed capacity has to date been dominated by the UK and Japan, and the vast majority of these foundations have been designed and developed by companies in Norway and Japan. New entrants, most notably the USA and France, are expected to challenge for leadership in both deployment and design.Whilst SMEs have played a central role in driving growth in the sector, multi-national energy firms are investing heavily in floating wind deployment and design. These include: (1) oil and gas majors; (2) energy utilities; and (3) Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Floating wind rated turbine capacity more than tripled and hub height almost doubled between 2008–13 and 2013–18. However, the majority of projects remain single-turbine demonstration projects, with just one array deployed. During the same period, the projects’ distance from shore has doubled to average 11km but their depth has increased by just 7{\%}. However, at an average depth of 65m, projects are operating in waters deeper than most bottom-fixed foundations are economically capable of. The UK is the world leader in floating wind deployment, with 56{\%} of global capacity. Retaining this future lead will, however, be likely to depend on it retaining an open trading relationship with the EU, a relationship that it has depended on heavily to deliver its two existing floating wind projects. Taking opportunities to grow the UK content of the offshore wind supply chain may help to mitigate some disruption post-Brexit. The removal of the UK’s Renewables Obligation (RO) has created a gap for long-term support of small-scale pre-commercial floating wind projects. Domestic support will become even more important, should the UK lose access to European technology demonstration funding post-Brexit.",
keywords = "offshore wind energy, renewable energy market, wind power generation, Scotland, floating wind farms, energy generation, electricity",
author = "Matthew Hannon and Eva Topham and James Dixon and David McMillan and Maurizio Collu",
note = "25.10.2019 - Corrections. Three minor errors were amended in the report. - Reference Scottish Government (2018b) was to the incorrect report. This has now been amended to the following - 'Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy (encompassing Deep Water Plan Options): Social and Economic Impact Assessment Scoping Report'. - Reference to Ward (2018) on p.52 was missing in the bibliography and is now included. - Figures 2 and 34 saw the sentences 'Estimated deployment of' changed to 'Estimated deployment including'.",
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doi = "10.17868/69501",
language = "English",
publisher = "University of Strathclyde",

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N1 - 25.10.2019 - Corrections. Three minor errors were amended in the report. - Reference Scottish Government (2018b) was to the incorrect report. This has now been amended to the following - 'Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy (encompassing Deep Water Plan Options): Social and Economic Impact Assessment Scoping Report'. - Reference to Ward (2018) on p.52 was missing in the bibliography and is now included. - Figures 2 and 34 saw the sentences 'Estimated deployment of' changed to 'Estimated deployment including'.

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