The UK remains the global leader in floating offshore wind amid a boom in global developments, according to the latest research from Renewable UK.
The industry body revealed that the country’s generation pipeline has increased from 23GW to over 33GW in just 12 months – a 44 per cent boost – including a ramp up in potential projects from 29 to 51.
These projects are being developed in the North Sea (Scottish and English waters), Celtic Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.
Floating offshore wind is now a burgeoning green industry, with Renewable UK reporting the pipeline for projects worldwide has more than doubled over the past year.
Projects going through the development process has soared from 91GW to 185GW.
This includes floating wind projects at any stage including operational, under construction, approved, in the planning system or at an early stage of development.
The report calculates that floating wind capacity could reach 11GW in the UK, 31GW in Europe and 41GW globally by the end of the decade.
This would contribute significantly to both global net zero ambitions and the UK’s energy security strategy, with the country targeting 50GW of offshore wind generation by the end of the decade.
Demand set to ramp up fast, says green body
Floating offshore wind turbines are typically placed on the surface of the ocean, connected to the ground with cables, making them bob slightly amid any ocean waves.
Europe remains the hub for floating offshore wind, with 107GW (58 per cent) of floating capacity is being developed in Europe.
This includes 33.3GW (18 per cent) of the global floating portfolio being developed in the UK.
Outside the continent, leasing areas off the west coast of the USA, project proposals off the south east coast of Australia, and South Korea make up the majority of the rest of the capacity.
However, there is still a sharp difference in the volume of completed or late-stage projects and proposed developments.
In the global 185GW pipeline, only 121MW is fully commissioned over nine projects in seven countries.
Meanwhile, 96MW is under construction, while 288MW is consented or in the pre-construction phase, 31GW is in planning or has a lease agreement, and 153GW is in early development or is in the leasing process.
However, Renewable UK expects demand for floating foundations is expected to ramp up fast, with the potential for nearly 1,000 floating foundations to be installed in UK waters by the end of 2030.
It predicts that globally, 3,200 floating foundations could be installed by the end of the decade.
Renewable UK’s chief executive Dan McGrail said: “In the years ahead, as we build projects further out to sea where wind speeds are even stronger, floating wind will play a central role in proving cheap, clean electricity for British homes as well as boosting our energy security.
“It also offers a significant opportunity to build up a whole new industry in the UK, with a world-class supply chain which will enable us to export our expertise and state of the art technology worldwide”.