WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson says floating offshore wind has "huge growth potential, is no longer a niche technology," and commercial-scale projects are ready to be built
Speaking at the FOWT 2020 in Marseille, France, Mr Dickson told delegates that floating wind has matured and achieved significant cost reductions over the past years. Further cost reductions now depend on future volumes, he said. “If Europe puts the right policies in place, higher production volumes of floating turbines could reduce the cost of floating offshore wind to €40-60/MWh (US$47-71) by 2030.”
“The period of demonstration projects is over. Floating wind is ready to scale. The contributions EU countries made in their National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) show that the interest in floating wind is high. The NECPs offer visibility for future projects and will trigger new investments. The industry is ready to increase production volumes,” Mr Dickson said.
With the 30-MW Hywind project in Scotland and the 24-MW WindFloat Atlantic project in Portugal, Europe is the global technology leader for floating wind installations. At least seven countries have concrete plans to install floating wind in the next decade. New projects are planned in France, UK, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Sweden. Further increasing the pipeline for floating wind projects will be key to exploiting floating wind’s cost reduction potential.
Europe wants offshore wind to be 25% of its electricity by 2050. WindEurope analysed the potential for floating offshore wind sites in the Northern Seas, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and calculates that 330 MW of floating offshore wind can be installed by 2022 and up to 7 GW by 2030. To reach the EU expansion targets, 150 GW of floating turbines could be spinning in Europe by 2050. This would mean that by 2050, up to a third of all offshore wind installations could be floating.
Today, the 62 MW of floating wind capacity in Europe still represent a small share in total offshore installations. But floating wind technology increases the potential for electricity generation from offshore windfarms.
While bottom-fixed installations are limited to coastlines with low water depths and favourable seabed conditions, floating offshore wind has seemingly unlimited global growth potential. Rapidly increasing interest from governments around the world in floating technologies, lately in South Korea, offers huge international growth opportunities for the European wind industry.
“In a decarbonising world, floating offshore wind is an essential source for large volumes of green electricity,” Mr Dickson told delegates.
“Europe must make use of its first-mover advantage. We have pioneered bottom-fixed offshore wind and now we are leading in floating. The next months can be decisive for offshore wind.
“Europe’s recovery packages and the funds earmarked for green technologies could help to build up a strong and future-oriented floating wind industry, and the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy will detail the regulatory framework for the further expansion of floating wind.”