Fresh research from trade body RenewableUK shines a light on the massive growth in floating offshore wind projects in recent months.
Published to coincide with the start of the Floating Offshore Wind 2022 conference in Aberdeen, the report shows the total pipeline of schemes, in terms of global capacity, has more than doubled in the last year.
There are now 185 gigawatts (GW) worth of projects in development, compared to 91 GW this time a year ago.
During that time, the number of actual schemes – including those that are operational, under construction and approved – has increased from 130 to 230.
The ‘EnergyPulse Insights’ report was compiled by RenewableUK’s data experts.
UK leading the way
It shows that the UK is maintaining its global lead in the field, with a pipeline of over 33GW and 51 projects, up from 23 GW and 29 projects last year.
Developments are being progressed in the North Sea, in both Scottish and English waters, as well as the Celtic Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.
Within the global 185 GW pipeline, 121 megawatts (MW) is fully commissioned over nine projects, including Hywind Scotland and Kincardine off the north-east coast, in seven countries.
Almost 100 MW is under construction, 288 MW is consented or in the pre-construction phase, 31 GW is in planning or has a lease agreement, and 153 GW is in early development or is in the leasing process.
More than 100 GW of floating capacity is being developed in Europe, over half of the global pipeline.
A total of 33.3GW (18%) of the global floating portfolio is in the UK, of which 29 GW is in Scottish waters, with a significant proportion sprouting from ScotWind.
Outside Europe, leasing areas off the west coast of the USA, project proposals off the south east coast of Australia, and South Korea make up the majority of the rest of the capacity.
By the end of the decade floating wind capacity could reach 11 GW in the UK, 31 GW in Europe and 41 GW globally, according to the report.
Scores of floating foundations
It also notes that demand for floating foundations is expected to ramp up fast, with the potential for nearly 1,000 structures to be installed in UK waters by the end of 2030.
Globally 3,200 floating foundations could be installed in the coming years.
RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail said: “The growth of floating offshore wind is surging ahead at a phenomenal rate year on year around the world. We’re proud that the UK is a global leader in this innovative technology with nearly a fifth of the total pipeline – significantly greater than any other country.
“In the years ahead, as we build projects further out to sea where wind speeds are even stronger, floating wind will play a central role in proving cheap, clean electricity for British homes as well as boosting our energy security.
“It also offers a significant opportunity to build up a whole new industry in the UK, with a world-class supply chain which will enable us to export our expertise and state of the art technology worldwide.”