UK Industry Bodies Give UK Floating Offshore Wind a Push

RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables met in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday, 14 November, to debate future opportunities for UK’s floating offshore wind.

Image source: Statoil

The two industry bodies held UK’s first floating offshore wind conference in order to urge the sector to work together in building the next generation of floating offshore wind farms in UK waters and to secure the lead in future export markets for the technology, RenewableUK said.

Bader Al Lamki, Executive Director for Clean Energy at Masdar, which is co-sponsoring the conference, said: “Deep-water locations often have the best wind profiles, which illustrates the long-term commercial potential of floating wind technology. The Floating Offshore Wind 2017 Conference brings this promising sector into focus, building on the positive momentum achieved with the launch of Hywind Scotland last month.”

Besides Statoil and Masdar’s 30MW Hywind Scotland, the world’s only operational floating offshore wind farm, two further projects, Kincardine and Dounreay Tri, are being developed, adding 60MW to the country’s floating offshore wind capacity by the end of the decade.

If these projects are delivered successfully, RenewableUK believes that the UK will have one-third of the world’s entire floating wind capacity, providing the country an opportunity to be the floating wind leader across the globe.

According to RenewableUK, industry experts emphasise the potential for floating wind to follow the same cost reduction trajectory as fixed offshore wind, pointing out that cost savings from assembling turbines onshore before towing out to sea and the use of lower cost vessels also offer cost reduction opportunities. In addition, according to the association, using floating platforms means being able to position turbines further from shore in areas of greater wind resource.

“Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to €40-60 per megawatt hour by 2030. Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (more than 60 meters) where traditional bottom-fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward,” said Stephen Bull, the Senior Vice President for Wind & Carbon Capture at Statoil, which is also co-sponsoring the event.

Outside of the UK, France, Japan and the USA are also looking at opportunities to develop floating wind, RenewableUK said, adding that 80 percent of Europe and Japan’s offshore wind resources are in seas over 60 metres deep, thus can only be harnessed using floating offshore wind technology.