Spain’s energy and environment ministry has launched a consultation on a marine energy roadmap that includes a target of 1-3GW of floating offshore wind by 2030. The consultation opened yesterday (7 July) and will close on 6 August 2021.
As well as being “a key plank of the energy transition at a national, European and global level”, “Blue Energy” is also “an industrial, economic and social opportunity” for Spain, the ministry stated.
Floating technologies are improving rapidly and are expected to become more cost-competitive by 2030. The sector is at an inflection point, the paper states, with commercial-scale rollout being a key factor in driving costs down.
Costs of small-scale floating projects are currently in the €180-200/MWh range but could fall to €80-100/MWh by 2025 for early commercial-scale projects, and halve again to €40-60/MWh by 2030 as the sector matures.
A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US projected the cost of floating offshore wind to come down to around 40% of the 2019 fixed-bottom figure by 2050.
In recognition of the financial hurdles developers have to face at present, however, the Spanish white paper recommends providing at least €200 million of government funding in the 2021-2023 period to support research and development.
Floating offshore wind will not only allow Spain to generate large amounts of green energy, but also feed synergies in strategic sectors such as shipping and civil engineering, the paper says.
The energy ministry estimates that port infrastructure will require investment in the region of €500 million to €1 billion to support the rollout of large-scale floating offshore wind.
Floating platform manufacturer Saitec Offshore Technologies recently announced plans for a 45MW pilot project off Spain’s Basque coast, while Iberdrola is planning more than 1.2GW of floating offshore wind capacity across two sites.