Quest Floating Wind Energy‘s latest report finds that developers are looking at offshore wind as a means of harvesting greater volumes of wind energy — and clean energy that’s of great benefit to the environment.
Conventional offshore wind farms are developed with bottom-fixed structures in relatively shallow, near-shore waters. However, according to Quest, 80% of the best wind resources lie in waters beyond the reach of bottom fixed (~60m). Floating wind technology is one answer to generating deeper-water offshore wind power and is increasingly being considered by project developers.
The Offshore Floating Wind industry was in its infancy only five years ago, an inner circle that initially had more naysayers than advocates. This industry has come a very long way in just a few years, delivering new floater designs, scaled demonstrators, pre-commercial projects, and new players.
The entry of companies such as Equinor, Repsol, SBM, Aker Solutions and most recently Shell has led to a step-change for this young industry’s viability and capability to produce 50 or 100 Floating Turbine Units (FTUs) on a serial manufacturing basis.
One reason for this sector’s greater interest and growth are costs. If an offshore wind farm of 10 turbines or 100 MW is considered commercial, for example, it is anticipated that floating wind farms of 100 units would offer much better project economics. As a result, it is expected that the long-held argument that floating wind is too costly will no longer stand if a large-scale project returns more power revenues than a comparably sized bottom fixed project.
In addition, Quest’s new research finds that floating wind and bottom-fixed project may, in some cases be complimentary and that offshore developers may combine both in some future cases.
Here is a summary of a few more findings from the report:
- Offshore globally, there are more than 1.4 GW of offshore wind auctions Planned in 2019 following a strong showing of 3.3 GW in 2018.
- Quest projects that more than 16 GW of Floating Offshore Wind will be installed worldwide to 2030.
- Offshore wind energy is quickly becoming a relevant adjacent industrial sector to offshore oil and gas for numerous supply chain companies. Their advanced engineering capabilities, project management skills and technology solutions will be required to meet rapid demand growth over the next decade.
- Offshore Floating Wind Energy is a fast-moving market. Europe has been the test bed for floating wind and the success of these projects will drive export of this technology to the U.S. and Asia well before 2025. The view towards large-scale projects aided with ample financial backing will help to drive efficiencies and lead to significantly reduced costs.
- State incentives are a driver for offshore floating wind as both California and Hawaii have targets to reach 100% renewable energy generation by 2045.
Learn more and download the report here.