Europe can expect to have 10GW of floating wind power by 2030

Massive Floating Offshore Wind Market Opening Up

Floating offshore wind offers unique opportunities for Europe. Floating turbines can produce electricity further offshore and in deeper waters than bottom-fixed turbines. This opens up offshore wind for countries that don’t have shallow waters – meaning offshore wind can be developed in deeper sea basins such as the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

Floating offshore wind is developing rapidly. Europe today has 113MW of floating wind turbines in operation and is in the process of developing many more and larger floating wind farms.

Norway is now building the world’s biggest floating wind farm, Hywind Tampen (88MW). France will have four small projects of around 30MW each up and running within two years. By 2024 Europe will have 330MW of floating wind in operation.

Then things will start to scale up big time. France is now running its first of 3 auctions in 2 years for large floating wind farms, each 250MW. Spain, Greece, Portugal & Norway all plan to start large-scale auctions in the coming year. Several large floating projects are being developed in Italy, off Sardinia, Apulia and Sicily. And Scotland have this year awarded seabed development rights for a massive 15GW of floating projects.

All this activity and ambition is reflected in floating wind targets for 2030 that various countries have recently announced. Greece wants 2GW by then, Spain 1-3 GW and the UK 5GW. Italy is considering a 2030 target of 3.5GW. Portugal is looking to auction three sites which could each host up 2GW. And Ireland has huge plans for floating wind, though mainly for after 2030.

It is not unreasonable to expect that Europe will have over 10 GW of floating wind in operation by 2030. But targets don’t automatically translate into new capacity. Governments need the right policies and measures, and they have to implement them in good time.

Floating wind will have its own distinctive supply chain. The turbines are the same as for conventional (bottom-fixed) offshore wind farms.

What’s different are the floating structures on which the turbines stand. These are big structures which need to be assembled in port and coastal areas. This requires major investments in manufacturing sites and the related infrastructure.

The Vidi Energy View: we see a massive floating offshore wind market opening up. Not only in deeper waters, further offshore, but also projects in 40m+ water depth that are today planning for fixed foundations switching to faster & easier to install, cheaper floating foundations.

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