The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has published a report, Floating Offshore wind – a Global Opportunity, that outlines how five countries could accelerate the growth of floating offshore wind.
The GWEC report identifies Ireland, Italy, Morocco, the Philippines, and the US as the “chasing pack”.
According to GWEC, these five countries, together with the most mature floating markets such as the UK, South Korea, France, and Japan, could spearhead the next wave of floating offshore wind.
GWEC says that Ireland’s government plans, together with favourable site conditions make for an attractive floating offshore wind market, provided that the transmission grid and port infrastructure is upgraded.
According to the report, in Italy, a commitment to net zero is driving the growth of wind power, and a lack of space on land and the absence of sites suitable for fixed-bottom wind will drive a focus on floating offshore wind.
GWEC believes that Morocco is looking at floating wind amid a great wind resource, a lack of access to fixed offshore wind, coupled with the government’s desire to meet green goals and increase energy security.
In the Philippines, high economic growth is driving increased electricity demand, GWEC said.
The report also says that lack of access to fixed offshore wind sites on the Pacific coast of the US, coupled with high ambition from the state and federal governments, all point to the growth of floating offshore wind.
Currently, in Ireland, there is 1.4 GW of offshore wind capacity planned by ESB, which recently requested a marine license for an 800 MW project.
Last year, Italy’s Ministry of Ecological Transition received 64 Expressions of Interest (EoI) for the development of floating offshore wind projects off the country’s coast.
In 2021, the US government decided to advance areas northwest of Morro Bay and of Humboldt County, California, for floating offshore wind development.
The report, from research and analytics company Aegir Insights, also highlights the role of political leadership in kick-starting floating offshore wind markets.
“Offshore wind is a vital tool in global action to decarbonise. While the focus of this decade is rapid growth of fixed offshore wind, we also need to see political leadership so that large scale floating offshore wind is ready to play its part in the 2030s and beyond,” said Ben Backwell, chief executive of GWEC.
“The five countries profiled have a combined floating offshore wind technical potential of 3861GW, equivalent to between 2.6 times – for Italy – and an astonishing 69 times – for Ireland – their current electricity demand,” commented Scott Urquhart, managing director of Aegir Insights.
The report states that floating offshore wind is expected to reduce reliance on fossil fuels such as gas coal, and oil, which is in line with the global ambitions to reach net-zero by 2050.
“As floating wind technologies mature it is critical that governments create policy to enable the rapid roll out of new projects in support of global net zero emissions targets. Alongside bottom-fixed offshore wind, solar and hydrogen, floating offshore wind has an opportunity to play a major part in the world’s future energy mix,” said Joe Nai, General Manager Asia Offshore Wind and Shell representative to GWEC Offshore Wind Task Force.
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