Europe’s leadership in offshore wind energy, and in facilitating the energy transition, can only be maintained by expanding the renewable energy focus to include floating offshore wind. But this requires stronger commitments from policymakers throughout Europe. With no floating offshore wind projects in the pipeline between 2021 and 2025, there is a window of opportunity for early movers willing to unlock new expanses of offshore wind energy. These untapped resources of offshore wind could play a key role in helping the EU to meet its 2030 climate goals, and help to bridge the potential gap opened up by a projected flat-lining of fixed-bottom offshore wind deployment in the second half of the 2020s.
Floating offshore wind is complimentary to bottom-fixed offshore wind and holds the key to an inexhaustible resource potential in Europe. 80% of all the offshore wind resource is located in waters 60 m and deeper in European seas. While floating technology was previously confined to R&D, the technology has developed significantly in recent years, and floating wind is now ready to be integrated into the energy market. Indeed, the integration of floating wind energy will be a great boost to the wider wind industry: Dickson emphasised that the EU needs to install 6 GW per year of offshore wind capacity between 2021 and 2030 in order to maintain cost reduction trends, to generate activity throughout the broader supply chain, and to ensure Europe’s position at the forefront of wind technology worldwide. To secure this, Dickson said, EU Member States should include floating offshore wind in their national energy climate action plan and run floating-specific auctions.
This year, FOWT took place at the Palais du Pharo in Marseille on 25-26 April, with an academic session on 27 April and centred on the deployment of commercially-focused floating wind farms. More than 800 participants from 25 countries attended the event over 3 days.
WindEurope’s Task Force on floating wind energy also took this opportunity to meet in Marseille and discuss the release of a White Paper giving recommendations to policymakers at the WindEurope Conference at the Global Wind Summit.
To find out more about floating wind, read WindEurope’s Floating Offshore Wind Vision Statement.