Floating Offshore Wind Could Be Bigger Than Fixed-Bottom by 2050, But There Is Catching Up to Do in Supply Chain

“We are looking at a market today that is immense. It is new and unprecedented when you look at the numbers. Floating wind is expected to be, in 2050, bigger than fixed offshore wind. But we got some catching up to do, and catching up to be done is really in the supply chain”, GustoMSC’s Commercial Director Floating Wind, Barend Jenje, said during Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference in Amsterdam.

Watch the session on OEEC on Demand

Along with vessels, especially specialised ones, and ports being the hot topics in discussions on the supply chain improvements that need to be done, according to Jenje, production capacity for floating foundations is at the heart of the build-out of the upcoming floating wind farms.

“We are looking at the fabrication for a single project of 50 units on a yearly basis. Fifty units a year also means 50 launches a year, they need to be put in the water. You could compare it with shipyards building 40 to 50 PSVs on a yearly basis”, Barend Jenje said.

Jenje added that this will also require the necessary infrastructure to be in place, from ports, installation companies, all the way to installation methodologies.

“Everybody can build a single unit. But this is about 50 units a year for a single project. And in 2030, it is not only one project to be built, it is 30 or 40 at the same time. We need to be prepared for that, we need to invest. And I think that’s the message today, at the forefront of the floating offshore wind, that industry really needs to pick this up. Otherwise…”

Worldwide, there are maybe five to ten fabrication facilities that can build floating wind structures, Jenje said and added that, in his view, the local content requirement today was hindering the process of the fabrication of floaters.

“It is all about efficiency, it is all about costs, it is about production capacity”.

In Europe, the supply chain should work as one, combine all the efforts and make it happen, according to Jenje.

On whether Europe is likely to reach its 300 GW target, and floating wind targets within that, the speakers at the ‘Focus on Floating Wind’ session were almost unanimous on developers and especially governments taking on their share of responsibility, from enabling the development and progress of the supply chain to cross-country connections in regard to using the supply chain, most notably fabrication capabilities, wisely.

Worldwide, developers are leading the race towards having as much floating wind capacity as possible.

“A number of big developers, they are ready and they have a vision, so those projects will happen. Also, when you look at the advancements in Korea, we can learn from that. ScotWind is speeding up, the French are speeding up”, Barend Jenje said.

Barend Jenje, GustoMSC’s Commercial Director Floating Wind

According to a recent report from TGS, 14 GW of floating offshore wind power will be installed or under construction by 2030, and that is only a smaller chunk of the capacity that has been, or will soon be, awarded through auctions throughout Europe, the US, Asia Pacific, and parts of South America. 

Scotland alone has already procured almost 18 GW of floating wind projects this year through the ScotWind seabed leasing round and is set to add more under the Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round, for which the application period closed last month. 

Norway and Scotland are the first in the world to plan dedicated tendering processes for floating wind projects to power oil & gas assets. 

Along with these two, countries like Japan, Portugal, Spain, and France were first out of the blocks with demonstration projects, with the US and South Korea expected to speed up their floating wind deployment over the next several years. The latter are expected to install around 10 GW of floating wind capacity by 2035, representing nearly half of the world’s total, the report from TGS says. 

This is just a quick preview of one point that was discussed at the ‘Focus on Floating Wind’ session during Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference. To access the full talk, go to OEEC On Demand:

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