WindEurope Expects Over 10 GW of Floating Wind in Operation by 2030

Based on current targets and tendering activities for floating wind in several European countries, WindEurope expects the continent to have more than 10 GW of installed floating wind capacity by 2030.

“Floating wind energy is about to take off big time in Europe. Over 100 MW is already in operation. Governments see it’s working well and that it means they can do offshore wind in deeper waters. So they’re announcing big targets and planning big auctions. Provided they put the right policies in place it is not unreasonable to expect that Europe will have over 10 GW of floating wind in operation by 2030”, said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

Today, there is 113 MW of floating wind in operation in Europe, with this to rise to over 300 MW within the next two years as the 88 MW Hywind Tampen in Norway and four 30 MW projects in France will be up and running.

From 2024, things will start to scale up big time, WindEurope says.

Together with the rising floating wind tendering activity, several countries have also already set their floating wind targets for 2030, including Greece (2 GW), Spain (1-3 GW), and the UK (5 GW). Italy is considering a 2030 target of 3.5 GW and Ireland also has big plans for floating wind, though mainly for after 2030, WindEurope said.

“France is now running its first of 3 auctions in 2 years for large floating wind farms, each 250 MW. Spain, Greece, Portugal and Norway all plan to start large-scale auctions in the coming year. Several large floating projects are being developed in Italy, off Sardinia, Apulia and Sicily. And Scotland have this year awarded seabed development rights for a massive 15 GW of floating projects”.

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Portuguese Government said earlier this year that it was looking to hold a floating wind auction as soon as this Summer with up to 4 GW offered.

However, as reported today (3 June), Portugal has postponed holding its first offshore wind auction to next year and now plans to award double the capacity initially planned to be put up for auction.

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João Galamba, the country’s Secretary of State for Energy, said the tendering procedure for offshore wind was more complex than those for other projects, because it also involves industrialisation of ports.

This is in line with what WindEurope pointed out while saying that targets do not automatically translate into new capacity and that governments need the right policies and measures, implemented in good time.

Floating wind has its own distinctive supply chain as the floating foundations need to be assembled in port and coastal areas, WindEurope said, which requires major investments in manufacturing sites and the related infrastructure. “Governments need to facilitate and incentivise these investments”.

Still, the first things that need to be done is the inclusion of floating wind farm locations in national Maritime Spatial Plans and setting clear auction schedules saying how much will be auctioned and when, according to the European wind energy industry association.

“These auctions should be technology-specific. And they should provide revenue stabilisation, ideally via index-linked 2-sided Contracts for Difference (CfDs)”, WindEurope states.

Policymakers should also ensure the grid connections are developed on time, with the right technology to connect floating structures to the grid, the organisation said.

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Photo: Kincardine floating wind farm; Illustration; Photo: Cobra