Carbon Trust Forecasts 70 GW of Floating Wind by 2040

The Carbon Trust sees 70 GW of floating wind installed capacity by 2040, according to a new summary report on the findings from the second phase of the Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (JIP).

The report outlines technology challenges that need to be addressed so the commercialisation of floating wind could be sped up, as well as new market projections from the Carbon Trust.

The Carbon Trust estimates the 70 GW to have a project value of GBP 195 billion. Up to 10.7 GW are expected to be feasible by 2030.

The prediction in the Phase I report saw 12 GW by 2030, however, this was now revised as 2029 or 2030 will mark a significant step change for the pace of development, according to the Carbon Trust.

From 2030, the build out rate is expected to increase to over 3 GW/year, therefore 12 GW is expected to be exceeded in 2031.

The technology findings in the Floating Wind Joint Industry Project – Phase II summary report concern four main areas: turbine requirements and foundations scaling, heavy lift offshore operations, dynamic export cables and monitoring and inspection.

The studies follow on from the first phase of the JIP’s work, which focused on electrical systems, mooring systems, and logistics for construction and operation for floating wind. 

The JIP’s second phase has now found that, aside from turbine towers and controllers, only minor modifications would be needed for the larger next-generation turbines, and that the required relative primary steel, secondary steel and mooring mass decreases for larger turbines.

Furthermore, new vessels or alternative lifting solutions – such as climbing crane technology – are needed for floating offshore heavy lift operations. The current limited availability and high cost of suitable floating heavy lift vessels in the market is a barrier to cost effectively undertaking operations offshore, according to the report.

When it comes to the area of dynamic export cables investigated in Phase II of the JIP, a competition was launched to support cable manufacturers develop and test suitable designs, with five cable manufacturers currently being supported to make these available as products for future projects. This follows previous JIP studies, which highlighted a lack of suitable dynamic cables currently available on the market.

Finally, a study focused on monitoring and inspection concluded that improvement is needed in both the collection of data and its usage to inform and manage asset integrity for floating wind farms, and in particular for subsea assets. For this there were no ‘quick win’ solutions, but techniques such as a digital twin approach, or unmanned vessels, could support cost effective solutions, the Carbon Trust states.

The work in the JIP’s second phase was done by Ramboll for the part on turbine requirements and foundations scaling, Seaway investigated heavy lift offshore operations, dynamic export cables were studied by BPP Cable Solutions, and Oceaneering worked on the monitoring and inspection part.

Photo: Carbon Trust