UK Launches GBP 160 Million Floating Wind Funding Round, Industry Not Satisfied with Investment

The UK Government has announced that up to GBP 160 million in grant funding will be made available for certain investments for the floating offshore wind sector.

Kincardine floating wind farm in Scotland; Photo source: Eni / Plentitude

The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) has established the Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS) to distribute GBP 160 million in funding to support critical port infrastructure that could enable the delivery of floating offshore wind.

Through this scheme, the government hopes to enable the delivery of the country’s 5 GW 2030 deployment ambition by securing additional suitable port capacity necessary to scale up and accelerate floating offshore wind deployment in the UK, as well as to increase capability in the UK floating wind supply chain, drive cost reduction, and the commercialisation of floating offshore wind technology.

In addition, the government hopes that this scheme will deliver industrial growth and associated regional economic and social benefits (for example, quality jobs and increased GVA).

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

Scotland selected 17 offshore wind proposals in January 2022, securing a capacity of 24,826 MW, with floating wind farms accounting for 15,071 MW. Later that year, Scotland announced that it will add three more floating wind projects after Crown Estate Scotland completed the clearing process for the ScotWind seabed leasing round.

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Now, with floating wind projects totalling 17,871 MW of awarded capacity and the ScotWind round yielding a little less than 30 GW, Scotland has gone well beyond breaking the record for a single offshore wind auction and for the awarded floating wind capacity.

Offshore Wind Industry Not Satisfied

Many of the offshore wind industry players expressed their opinion about the UK Government’s announcement on FLOWMIS, including RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables.

“The Government’s long-awaited announcement that it is opening its £160 million Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Scheme to bidders is an important first step in accelerating much-needed port upgrades around the UK and stimulating manufacturing opportunities in innovative floating wind technology, in which the UK is a world leader”, said Ana Musat, RenewableUK’s Executive Director.

“However, the Floating Offshore Wind Taskforce, led by RenewableUK, has identified the need for £4 billion of investment by the end of this decade to ensure that ports are ready for the mass deployment of floating wind, which would bring jobs and growth to coastal communities as we build up new supply chains. So we need Government to step up and raise its level of ambition if we are to secure these economic benefits”.

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Emma Harrick, Head of Energy Transition and Supply Chain at Scottish Renewables said that while they welcome the announcement, the Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Scheme falls woefully short of what the country needs.

“We need meaningful investment and we need it now. The 14 floating wind projects announced as part of the ScotWind Leasing round mean Scotland has the most seabed dedicated to develop commercial floating wind anywhere in the world. However, more than three Scottish ports urgently need to be transformed into new industrial hubs to ensure we have the necessary supply chain and manufacturing bases required for mass floating wind deployment by the end of this decade.”

“The UK Government needs to significantly increase its investment in our ports to ensure we can meet our net-zero targets and deliver the energy security needed for Scotland’s economy and local communities to benefit from the fresh economic investment which a home-grown clean energy supply brings.”

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