Floating Wind LCOE to Drop Below USD 40/MWh by 2050, Installed Capacity to Reach 264 GW

Floating wind technology development will enable the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) to drop below USD 100/MWh by 2025 and under USD 40/MWh in 2050, which will further drive, together with some other factors, an increase in cumulative installed capacity to 264 GW by 2050, according to a report from DNV.

Illustration; Kincardine floating wind farm. Source: Statkraft/KOWL

With global installed offshore wind capacity forecast to increase to 1,748 GW by 2050, DNV anticipates floating offshore wind to account for 15 per cent of that capacity.

DNV, which expects significant technology development in floating wind in the next five years to reduce floating wind energy cost, says that these cost reductions, together with the industry’s scale-up and expansion to new markets will lead to almost 2 GW of cumulative installed capacity by 2025 and to 264 GW by mid-century,

With a number of floating wind projects scheduled to be in operation in 2025, the industry will have an opportunity to learn more about day-to-day operations, wind turbine performance and events such as major component replacement, which will spur new developments, according to the report.

“Technology providers with assets already deployed clearly have a head start in terms of experience, but we also expect many technology developers to rival them with new concepts. There are currently more than 40 floating wind concepts under development, and new concepts are frequently being announced”, DNV states.

Along with further development of the floating foundation concepts and construction and maintenance, DNV expects significant development in the area of mooring systems.

The biggest cost reductions in floating wind will occur in turbine cost, foundation cost, and operating expenditure (OPEX), according to DNV, which forecasts a 65 per cent reduction in floating wind turbine cost in the next ten years, driven by scale and reduction of risk.

For floating foundations, whose costs are five times higher than those for bottom-fixed offshore wind, massive reductions in cost (from five to two times the cost of bottom-fixed) are expected in the next decade as a result of technology optimisation, scale, standardisation, and supply chain.

OPEX in floating wind is also five times higher than that of bottom-fixed and DNV forecasts that OPEX costs will drop down to levels nearly equivalent of those currently in bottom-fixed offshore wind by 2030. This will be driven by turbine size and project scaling, followed by other factors such as operational experience, floating infrastructure inspection and maintenance improvements.

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