More than 50GW of floating offshore wind projects are either being planned or are already operational, according to new data from RenewableUK.
Most (30.9GW) of the 54GW-plus pipeline is in European waters, according to figures the industry body released at its floating offshore wind conference in Aberdeen, Scotland.
A major surge in floating wind deployment is forecast between 2025 and 2030, with much of it set to happen in northern Europe.
At 8.8GW, the UK's pipeline leads the world, ahead of Ireland (7.7GW) and Italy (3.7GW). The UK’s pipeline will be aided by the separate budget for floating offshore wind in the forthcoming contract for difference auction round. It may also be swelled by projects awarded in Scotland’s ongoing leasing round.
RenewableUK called for the UK government to raise its ambition on floating offshore wind beyond the current 1GW by 2030 target. It also urged the drawing up of a regional development strategy and development of long-term spatial planning.
Norway, Spain and France also plan to deploy floating wind at scale. Beyond Europe, the most important floating offshore wind players will be Australia (7.4GW pipeline), South Korea (7.1GW), the US (5.5GW), Taiwan (1.5GW) and Japan (1.3GW). Projects are also planned off China and Saudi Arabia.
Floating platforms can enable offshore wind deployment at sites with deep waters making fixed-bottom foundations financially or technologically unviable.