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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Floating wind will miss 2030 target


Offshore wind turbines with oil and gas platform in background Photo: Equinor
Power production has begun at the Hywind Tampen floating wind farm in the North Sea but the industry lacks progress globally, according to a new report

Photo: Equinor

A new report has found that targets for 2030 production from floating wind farms are set to be missed across the globe.

The report from offshore wind analyst 4C Offshore notes that rather than being a supply issue, the lack of progress is often down to administrative delays. Governments are failing to follow up on their climate promises with clear policies, permitting and regulatory frameworks to kick-start floating offshore wind in their territories.

Compared with a previous report from May 2022, forecasts for 2030 and 2035 have both been reduced by 2 GW. ‘This decrease reflects continued policy-side delays and slow authorisation processes in multiple countries. Despite high ambitions from developers, with several companies having floating project pipelines greater than 10 GW, development will slow without proper government support,' explains Ivar Slengesol, Vice President of New Energy Solutions at TGS, 4C’s parent company.

Although the current trajectory points in the wrong direction, there is still time to regain some lost ground. With the potential for floating wind installation to begin within seven years of site award, we are now entering a crucial window of opportunity, the report says.

Richard Aukland, Director of Research at 4C Offshore, notes: ‘We saw this with the fixed-bottom market a decade ago. Ambitions for floating wind deployment are rapidly increasing globally as governments become attuned to floating versus fixed-bottom wind benefits. Aside from the issues of limited geographical suitability for fixed wind turbine installation, floating wind farms can be less visible from the shore, carry fewer environmental impacts, and access stronger wind resources. Competition and expectations remain high, but progress is too slow.’

The latest report estimates that 14 GW of floating wind power will be installed or in construction offshore by 2030. This represents only 5% of the total expected offshore wind installations and is less than the 54 GW targeted by the world’s energy regulators. The US and Korea appear to carry the greatest momentum, with both expected to produce around 10 GW of energy from floating wind capacity by 2035, representing nearly half of the world’s total. China is also expected to commercialise quickly, with the first GW-scale project being commissioned before 2030.

First power from Hywind Tampen
Meanwhile, Equinor recently reported that the first turbine at the Hywind Tampen floating wind farm in the North Sea has begun producing power, delivering the electricity to the Gullfaks A platform. According to Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s Executive Vice President for Projects, Drilling and Procurement, Hywind Tampen is Norway’s first and the world’s largest floating wind farm. He also notes that it is the first time a wind farm has powered a producing oil and gas installation.

Owned by Gullfaks and Snore field partners, Hywind Tampen is expected to meet about 35% of the two field’s electricity demand. This is expected to cut CO2 emissions from the fields by about 200,000 t/y.

Seven of the 11 turbines are scheduled to come onstream this year, with the last four installed during a weather window next year. Even with just the seven turbines onstream, Hywind Tampen is reported to be the world’s largest floating wind farm, with a capacity of 60 MW.

Huge onshore wind farm agreed
In other wind news, an agreement has been signed between Masdar, Infinity Power and Hassan Allam Utilities to develop a 10 GW onshore wind project in Egypt, thought to be one of the largest onshore wind farms in the world. A memorandum of understanding was signed at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh.

When completed, the wind farm will produce 47,790 GWh/y of clean energy and is expected to offset 23.8mn tonnes of carbon – equivalent to around 9% of the country’s current CO2 emissions. The project will be part of Egypt’s Green Corridor initiative – a grid dedicated to renewable energy projects – and will contribute to Egypt’s goal of ensuring renewable energy makes up 42% of its energy mix by 2035.