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Floating Offshore Wind - a Global Opportunity

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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Mar 11, 2022
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To deliver net zero, the world faces a huge challenge. We must rapidly transition from high carbon energy sources to low carbon technologies such as wind power. Across the last thirty years we have seen the successful maturation of offshore wind. It is now recognised as a low cost, secure power source, able to underpin global action on decarbonisation. Offshore wind is a low cost, reliable technology. It delivers significant economic benefits through manufacturing and operation, and importantly can be deployed rapidly at scale.

Our global population is clustered around coastal locations, so offshore wind also offers a route to opening up access to renewable energy for a global population. For many countries however, bottomfixed is either not an option, or potential is limited. Deeper waters are the norm around most of our global coastline meaning that floating offshore wind is needed if these countries are to develop offshore wind.

Already we are seeing the emergence of floating offshore wind markets in a number of countries, with France, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK all moving to grow floating offshore wind, with policy making underway to drive this growth. However, behind this first round of countries backing floating offshore wind, which will be the next set of countries we see blazing a floating offshore wind path? This question sits at the heart of this study and work commissioned from Aegir Insights. What is clear from this work is that to be a successful floating market, certain physical conditions need to be in place. Put simply, the wind needs to blow to make projects stack up commercially. That said, if a country has the right physical conditions, it still needs the right policies and regulations in place.

Successful action to do this will mean countries leapfrogging others to deliver floating offshore wind, and potentially capturing the economic benefits that will come from being an early floating offshore wind adopter. This report has successfully identified five potential floating markets out of a longlist of 115. But in doing so Executive Summary Offshore wind is a low cost, reliable technology. It delivers significant economic benefits through manufacturing and operation, and importantly can be deployed rapidly at scale.

Our global population is clustered around coastal locations, so offshore wind also offers a route to opening up access to renewable energy for a global population. 8 Floating Offshore Wind – a Global Opportunity Competitiveness of floating wind compared to alternatives Policy environment Floating wind technical potential Technical potential for floating offshore wind (GW) Technical potential for fixed-bottom offshore wind (GW) Average economic potential (LCOE, USD/MWh 2018) Population density (people per sq. km of land area) Renewable RISE score (1-100) Targets dedicated to wind, offshore wind or floating wind Four stages of commitment Fixed-bottom OSW wind constraint Solar cost level Land constraint on renewables Renewables policy Targets Hydrogen commitment Parameter Proxy it became clear that there are many markets with the right technical conditions in place to successfully deploy floating offshore wind. Using 7 parameters (see left) we assessed market readiness and potential, and identified a shortlist of 30 markets with the right conditions in place to evolve rapidly as successful floating offshore wind markets.

For these countries to become hubs of floating offshore wind activity depends however on one critical thing: policy ambition. Our assessment has highlighted that the biggest factor in identifying new breakout floating offshore wind markets is government action and leadership. Governments need to show ambition. Their actions can be the catalyst to kickstarting successful floating offshore wind deployment, which can bring economic advantage and rapid action in emissions reduction.

 

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