The global pipeline of floating wind power projects has reached 54 GW, with Europe accounting for over half of this, led by the UK, industry association RenewableUK said Sept. 15.
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Europe has almost 31 GW of projects in development, with the 8.8 GW of this in the UK. Ireland has 7.7 GW planned, with Sweden at 6.2 GW and Italy with 3.7 GW.
Norway, Spain and France are also planning to deploy floating wind at scale, RenewableUK said. The pipeline includes projects at an early stage through to fully operational assets.
Scotland hosts the world's first floating wind farm, Hywind, which has been operating since 2017, with a second project, Kincardine, almost fully operational.
"Scotland's huge deepwater potential means we expect floating offshore wind will be vital in our transition to a net-zero economy," Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson said at the trade association's Floating Offshore Wind conference, Sept. 15.
"Scotland is already leading the world in floating wind and we'll do everything in our power to maintain our support and ensure we remain at the forefront of this innovative technology. The ongoing ScotWind leasing process has the potential to transform the energy sector in Scotland, including the transfer of oil and gas workers into renewables and into floating offshore wind in particular."
The ScotWind leasing process by Crown Estate Scotland has received over 70 applications to install a total of up to 10 GW of new fixed and floating wind capacity.
The UK government has allocated GBP24 million for floating offshore projects in its fourth contract for differences round due in December.
The Crown Estate said in July that 300 MW of new floating wind projects would progress to the next assessment stage in the Celtic Sea.
The Climate Change Committee said earlier in 2021 that the UK would need 100 GW of offshore wind by 2050 to meet net-zero emissions targets.
In a report published Sept. 15, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult said 50% of this could be floating wind.
Floating offshore wind had the potential to be subsidy free by 2030, it said.
Beyond Europe, Australia has a pipeline of 7.4 GW of floating offshore wind, with South Korea on 7.1 GW and the USA with 5.5 GW. Taiwan, Japan, China and Saudi Arabia are also planning projects.
The RenewableUK study noted a major uptick in floating wind deployment between 2025 and 2030.
OREC said floating offshore wind could be a significant enabler of large volumes of renewable hydrogen, produced via electrolysis of water.