Floating offshore wind leaders set out vision for the future
14 November 2017
Posted by: Rob Norris
Industry leaders gather in Glasgow to debate future opportunities in floating offshore wind
Industry bodies RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables are holding the UK’s first dedicated floating offshore wind conference today, with a rallying cry for the sector to work together to build the next generation of floating offshore wind farms in UK waters, and to secure the lead in future export markets for this innovative technology.
The UK is home to the world’s only floating offshore wind farm, Statoil and Masdar’s Hywind Scotland, and it has one of the largest pipelines of floating offshore wind projects in the world. If these projects are delivered successfully, the UK will have one-third of the world’s entire floating wind capacity, providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead the roll out of this technology across the globe.
The 30-megawatt (MW) Hywind Scotland wind farm, 25 kilometres off the coast of Peterhead, has the capacity to power 20,000 homes. Two further projects, Kincardine and Dounreay Tri, are being developed, adding 60MW by end of the decade, trebling our capacity to 90MW.
Speaking at the event, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said “No one should be in any doubt about the size of that possibility, of the prize that we are discussing today, or the benefits it could bring to Scotland and to workers and business across the UK.
"Industry and Government can take the lead in floating offshore wind. We can become international leaders and the source of global expertise in the sector. The UK can open up development possibilities in deep water sites around the world, on the US’s west coast, Japan, Taiwan and elsewhere”.
Stephen Bull, the Senior Vice President for Wind & Carbon Capture at Statoil, which is co-sponsoring the event, said: “Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to €40-60 per megawatt hour by 2030. Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (more than 60 meters) where traditional bottom-fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward”.
Bader Al Lamki, Executive Director for Clean Energy at Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, which is also co-sponsoring the event, said “Deep-water locations often have the best wind profiles, which illustrates the long-term commercial potential of floating wind technology. The Floating Offshore Wind 2017 Conference brings this promising sector into focus, building on the positive momentum achieved with the launch of Hywind Scotland last month.”
Outside the UK, France, Japan and the USA are also looking at opportunities to develop floating wind. 80% of Europe and Japan’s offshore wind resources are in seas over 60 meters deep, so they can only be harnessed using floating offshore wind technology
Industry experts point to the opportunities for floating wind to follow the same cost reduction trajectory as fixed offshore wind. It can share in the technology advances made in the wider offshore wind sector. Cost savings from assembling turbines onshore before towing out to sea, and the use of lower cost vessels also offer cost reduction opportunities. Most importantly, using floating platforms means being able to position turbines further from shore in areas of greater wind resource.
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RenewableUK is also holding an onshore wind conference in Glasgow on Wednesday: Onshore Asset Management 2017
RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the wind, wave and tidal energy industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 400 corporate members, RenewableUK is the country’s leading renewable energy trade association.
More on Statoil and Masdar’s Hywind Scotland project can be found here.