A short, crisp article from YaleEnvironment360 last week, pointing at the promising potential from emerging floating wind turbines projects. Three points I find particularly encouraging:
1) The technology provides access to 80% of the world's maritime waters that are too deep for conventional offshore wind turbines and is largely proven: the 5 turbines of HyWind (run by Equinor, offshore Peterhead) have continued producing power in harsh winter storms. So, the long-term running-room for offshore wind looks to expand considerably. Good news for some of the offshore O&G supply chains.
2) After HyWind, Scotland is planning more and bigger floating wind parks. Portugal (and Spain’s) WindFloat Atlantic is under construction (~3 times the capacity of HyWind), the first one in Continental Europe. France has included the technology in its clean energy plans, aspiring to become a world leader.
3) Floating turbines and bird communities further out at sea are more thinly distributed which reduces the collision risk compared to conventional offshore wind arrays. Decommissioning will also be easier since they are not fixed to the seabed.
Commercialisation at scale is predicted to reduce cost (LCOE) from EUR180-200/MWh today to 45-65/MWh by 2030 (source: www.windeurope.org) . In comparison: in Q3 2019 the UK (the biggest offshore wind market in the world) awarded 3 unsubsidised conventional offshore wind projects at EUR 44/MWh.