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A clear guide to the acceleration of floating offshore wind

As the offshore wind industry comes together in London for Global Offshore Wind 2023, one of the major talking points will be the key innovations linked to the continued rapid development of the global floating offshore wind industry. Over the past year we have seen further expansion of the UK pipeline through the award of 3GW of option agreements in the ScotWind clearing round, exclusivity agreements for 500MW of innovation (IN) projects and offers made for a further 5GW of floating offshore wind via the Targeted Oil and Gas (TOG) leasing round – bringing the UK’s total awarded project pipeline to more than 25GW of floating offshore wind.

The UK remains the world’s leading market for floating offshore wind and is well placed to set the pace on the industrialisation of this new and innovative technology across the globe. In doing so, we can unlock huge new areas of seabed, greatly expanding our options for where offshore wind is deployed, creating economic opportunities in coastal regions, whilst minimising environmental interactions associated with offshore wind.

In the UK, floating offshore wind will also play a critical role in supporting a sustainable energy transition and employment, skills and technology from the existing oil and gas sector.

As the scale of the industry grows and project developments progress, there is an increasing need for a wider understanding of the basics of floating offshore wind technologies and project lifecycle stages. This knowledge will play a key role in ensuring stakeholders can effectively engage and enable the rapid but sustainable deployment of large scale floating offshore wind.

There are a number of fundamental differences between fixed and floating technologies, but also many similarities. As an industry, we need to clearly communicate where floating offshore wind differs from fixed, and where it doesn’t. This allows us to prioritise our resources on where differences might require us to close knowledge gaps, or present new opportunities, both for the supply chain and regulators.

Whether it’s the need for ongoing optimisation of floating sub-structures, dynamic cabling, mooring and anchoring, manufacturing, assembly, commissioning, or approaches to marine operations, there is work to be done. We also need to consider and make the most of synergies with the oil and gas sector and how it currently operates in deep water environments.

For Government and regulatory stakeholders, this development of technical knowledge of floating wind technology can facilitate the type of fast and well informed decisions that will allow the sector to move to the next phase.

For the supply chain, it can help companies to more quickly identify opportunities and understand the requirements that their products and services need to be tailored to support.

To support this, The Guide to a Floating Offshore Wind Farm, published in the past few days, has been developed in collaboration with partners from across the industry.

Funded by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence (FOW CoE), The Crown Estate, and Crown Estate Scotland, and delivered in collaboration with BVG Associates, the guide contains a visual illustration of the full lifecycle of a floating offshore wind farm.

The Guide uses interactive tools to create a journey through the various stages of what will be needed for the development of floating wind technology in the years ahead, and provides a wealth of material suitable to both technical and non technical audiences. As well as helping to build knowledge of the components needed, it can also support supply chain development and help us to plan how to make the most of the opportunity we have on offer.

I hope that, in the midst all the energy discussion and debate we will see across this week’s event, this guide will be something we can all utilise and support to help take the UK to the next stage in our journey towards unleashing the potential of floating offshore wind.

Ralph Torr

Head of Floating Wind

ORE Catapult



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