Floating offshore wind (FOW) is no longer consigned to the laboratory: it is a viable technology ready to be rolled out on an industrial scale, according to the latest report from WindEurope, “Unleashing Europe’s offshore wind potential”. One of the key advantages of FOW is that turbines are located further away from coasts in areas with higher average wind speeds and no constraints on depth. Turbines can be significantly larger on floating installations and construction, installation and O&M costs could be lower than for fixed sites. By using FOW, developers can make use of larger areas, avoiding wake effects from nearby wind turbines or other wind farms. Capacity can thus be improved, leading to an increased electricity generation and cost reductions of 10% by 2020 and 25% by 2030.
FOW offers a vast potential for growth. 80% of all the offshore wind resource is located in waters of 60 metres and deeper in European seas, where traditional bottom-fixed offshore wind (BFOW) is less economically attractive. At 4,000 GW, the EU has more than 50% of the potential global floating market, significantly more than the resource potential of the US and Japan combined.
Tapping into this inexhaustible resource will be key to expanding the overall capacity of offshore wind and supporting the EU in reaching its 2030 target of 27% of energy from renewables. As highlighted in WindEurope’s latest report, offshore as a whole could, in theory, generate between 2,600 TWh and 6,000 TWh per year at a competitive cost of 65 €/MWh or lower, representing 80%-180% of the EU’s total electricity demand. Read more…
Article published in: FuturENERGY June 2017