Floating offshore wind comes of age with break-through pipeline of projects

Thursday, 8 June, 2017 - 13:15

Floating offshore wind is no longer consigned to the laboratory: it’s a viable technology ready to be rolled out on an industrial scale, according to the latest report from WindEurope released today at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event in London.

Not only has the technology for floating offshore wind reached maturity, costs are also predicted to plummet in the coming years. One of the key advantages of floating offshore wind is that turbines are located further away from shores in areas with higher average wind speeds without depth constraints.
Turbines can be significantly larger on floating installations and construction, installation, operation and maintenance costs could be lower than on fixed sites. Capacity can thus be improved leading to an increased generation of electricity, allowing for cost reductions of 10% by 2020 and 25% by 2030.

Ivan Pineda, WindEurope Director for Public Affairs commented: "Floating offshore wind is no longer an R&D exercise. The technology has developed rapidly in recent years and it is now ready to be fully commercialised at utility scale projects. Adding this option to the market means more offshore wind in total and it’s this extra capacity that we will need to meet the 2030 goals".

Floating offshore wind offers a vast potential for growth. 80% of all the offshore wind resource is located in waters 60m and deeper in European seas, where traditional bottom-fixed offshore is less attractive.  At 4,000 GW, it is significantly more than the resource potential of the US and Japan combined.

Tapping into this inexhaustible resource will be key to expanding the overall capacity of offshore wind and support the EU in reaching the target of 27% of energy by renewables by 2030. As highlighted in WindEurope’s latest report, ‘Unleashing Europe’s offshore wind potential,’ offshore as a whole could in theory generate between 2,600 TWh and 6,000 TWh per year at a competitive cost – €65/MWh or below, representing 80%-180% of the EU’s total electricity demand. 

Floating offshore wind projects in Europe

Project name
Capacity
Country
Expected commissioning date
Hywind Scotland 30 MW Scotland 2017
Kincardine 48 MW Scotland From 2018
Dounreay Tri 2 x 5 MW Scotland 2018
WindFloat Atlantic 30 MW Portugal 2018-2019
French pre-commercial farms 4 x 25 MW France 2020
Atlantis/Ideol project 100 MW UK 2021
Gaelectic 30 MW Ireland 2021

 

Source: WindEurope

Similar Entries

Annual installed offshore wind capacity in Europe (graph: WindEurope)

The offshore wind industry hit a new record for investments of €14 billion during the first half of the year – exceeding the total full-year investments in 2015 – according to offshore statistics for the first 6 months of 2016 published today by WindEurope. As of 30 June 2016, cumulatively, there are 3,344 offshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of 11,538 MW fully grid connected in European waters in 82 wind farms across 11 countries, including demonstration sites.

AXYS Technologies Inc. (AXYS) announced that design work with Boulder Environmental Sciences & Technology (BEST) is underway to deploy the world’s first buoy based microwave profiling radiometer on a floating platform, the FLiDAR WindSentinel. The companies are certain that the measurements of this system will significantly improve weather forecasting and lead to better site evaluation and energy producing.

Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company, has shortlisted projects for a €3mn scientific research programme to understand the environmental impacts of offshore wind.

The first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind, off the coast of Scotland (Photo: DNV GL)

DNV GL has launched a new joint industry project with fourteen global partners to develop a Recommended Practice for the coupled analysis of floating offshore wind turbines. The project is the first of its kind, bringing together multiple stakeholders from the wind, oil & gas and maritime industries.