UK Opens GBP 160 Million Floating Offshore Wind Funding Round

The UK government has opened the GBP 160 million Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS) for expressions of interest.

Announced in November 2021, the investment scheme will provide government funding to boost floating offshore wind capability around the UK at sites in Scotland, Wales, and elsewhere by supporting manufacturers and giving private investors the confidence to back this emerging sector which is expected to rapidly expand in the years ahead, the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said.

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The emerging UK floating offshore wind sector already has two operational projects generating power off the coast of Scotland at Hywind Scotland and Kincardine.

The GBP 160 million of funding is expected to unlock further deepwater port infrastructure and support private investment in new factories to mass-produce major components for floating offshore wind, with ambitions for projects off the coast of Wales.

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15 GW of floating offshore wind in Scottish waters has been announced through the ScotWind leasing round and a further 4 GW is to be leased off the Welsh coast in the Celtic Sea which, combined, could require well over a thousand floating wind foundations.

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This will present the UK with a huge opportunity to establish a world-leading sector capable of bringing down technology costs and delivering floating offshore wind at scale, BEIS said.

The UK government announced in the British Energy Security Strategy its ambition to deliver up to 50 GW of offshore wind by 2030, including up to 5 GW of floating wind, produced by turbines on floating platforms out in deeper seawaters, many off the coast of Scotland and Wales.

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This expansion to 50 GW is expected to further attract vital investment to UK coastal communities, adding to the 60,000 direct and indirect jobs the government estimates could already be supported by the offshore wind sector by 2030, and levelling up Scotland, Wales, and the wider country.

Offshore Wind Champion Picked

The UK government has also appointed Tim Pick as the first UK Offshore Wind Champion. The appointment was confirmed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business & Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

”We are delighted to appoint Tim Pick as the UK’s first Offshore Wind Champion and begin the process of supporting British jobs and offshore wind manufacturers with £160m of government funding,” Secretary Kwarteng said.

”Our announcement today represents another important step in our ambitious plans to accelerate offshore wind as a source of affordable, homegrown energy for the UK and drive down bills for households.”

Tim Pick is expected to play a vital role in spearheading the work to accelerate new offshore wind projects around the UK, chairing the Offshore Wind Acceleration Taskforce (OWAT).

This Taskforce will bring together companies from across the offshore wind sector to coordinate their efforts, and speed up the further development of offshore wind power in the UK.

Until his retirement in April, Pick was Head of Energy, Resources, and Infrastructure at law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Prior to joining Freshfields in 2013, he was head of Shearman & Sterling’s international Project Development & Finance practice.

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Photo: Principle Power/Illustration