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Global offshore wind project pipeline has grown by 32% in a year

A new report by RenewableUK shows that in terms of capacity, the total pipeline of floating offshore wind projects has grown by 32% in the last year – from 185GW to 244GW.

The term ‘pipeline’ refers to projects at any stage of development, from the earliest planning phases to being fully operational. Over the last year, the number of projects around the world has increased from 230 to 285.

The EnergyPulse Insights report was compiled by RenewableUK’s data analysts to coincide with the opening of their Floating Offshore Wind 2023 conference in Aberdeen which concludes today.

Right now, 227MW of floating wind are fully operational across 14 projects in seven countries. Norway has the most with 94MW across three projects. The UK is second with 80MW (two projects), Portugal has 25MW (one project) and China is fourth with 19MW across three projects. Japan has 5MW (two projects), Spain 2.225MW (two projects) and France 2MW (one project).

Of the global projects looking to add to that 227MW, there is 46MW under construction (three projects), 576MW consented or in the pre-construction phase (11 projects), 68GW in the planning system or have a lease agreement (80 projects), and 175GW in early development or applying for a lease (177 projects).

Nearly two-thirds of floating wind capacity announced so far worldwide are being developed in European waters (160GW), 14% is in the UK (35GW – of which 29GW is in Scottish waters). Outside Europe, projects are being developed mainly off the west coast of the USA, the southeast coast of Australia and South Korea.

Although Italy has the largest project pipeline (40,071MW), nearly all its 47 projects are at an early stage of development, with only one (90MW) submitted into the planning system so far.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail, Co-Chair the Floating Wind Taskforce said: ‘This report shows that although the UK is a world leader in floating wind, other countries are eyeing the massive economic opportunity offered by this innovative technology and are determined to get a slice of the action. The international competition for investment is intensifying rapidly.

‘We urgently need a step-change from our partners in Government to ensure that this cutting-edge industry can attract billions in investment to boost deployment and build up new supply chains, rather than focussing solely on a race to the bottom on prices.

‘To ensure that the UK seizes the industrial benefits of developing state-of-the-art technology and revitalising ports around the country, we need to see sustainable prices to enable stepping-stone projects to go ahead in a successful auction next year, and every year going forward. Leveraging these projects will enable us to replicate the cost reductions we’ve seen in fixed-foundation offshore wind, as well as catalysing supply chain development. We’re determined to make the 2020s a decade of acceleration for floating wind.’

Scottish Energy Minister Gillian Martin used the conference to criticise the government for its failure to attract any new offshore wind in the recent Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 5, ‘“It is critical for the government to understand the significant concerns developers have expressed around the increasing pressure on development costs, including inflation.’

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