The “massive economic opportunity” offered by floating wind is rapidly gaining international attention, a renewable energy trade organisation has said, with the number of planned projects growing significantly in the last year.

The total pipeline of planned and operating farms jumped by 32% in just 12 months, according to a new report by RenewableUK, going from global capacity of 185GW to 244GW.

The number of projects increased from 230 to 285, the EnergyPulse Insights report found. The pipeline includes projects at any stage – fully operational, under construction, approved, in the planning system awaiting a decision, or in an early stage of development.

Floating turbines can be installed in deeper waters than fixed-bottom turbines, potentially opening up huge areas of the ocean for wind energy generation. Farms can be placed further from land, accessing higher wind speeds and therefore higher yields.

So far, 227MW are fully operational across 14 projects in seven countries. Norway has the most, with 94MW across three projects, followed by the UK with 80MW across two projects.

Globally, 46MW is under construction and 576MW is consented or in pre-construction. A much larger amount of capacity (68GW) is in the planning system or has a lease agreement, and an even bigger portion (175GW) is in early development or applying for a lease.

“This report shows that although the UK is a world leader in floating wind, other countries are eyeing the massive economic opportunity offered by this innovative technology and are determined to get a slice of the action. The international competition for investment is intensifying rapidly,” said RenewableUK chief executive Dan McGrail.

“We urgently need a step change from our partners in government to ensure that this cutting edge industry can attract billions in investment to boost deployment and build up new supply chains, rather than focussing solely on a race to the bottom on prices.”

Extracted from IMechE website read more here

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