Floating wind power could contribute significantly to the global decarbonisation effort through to 2050 and beyond, if industry standards and risk management are streamlined as the technology scales-up during industrialisation, according to a new report from DNV GL.
The consultancy sees over 250GW of deepwater wind being added to the worldwide offshore fleet as costs fall 70% to a global average of €40/MW ($48/MWh), as oil & gas and maritime industries join existing players in “shifting their portfolios to become less dependent on fossil fuels”.
“We know that floating wind is technically feasible; the challenge now is to move rapidly to commercial deployments,” said DNV GL CEO Remi Eriksen, who noted that the sector could singlehandedly meet 2% of global power demand by mid-century.
“There is a wealth of expertise to call on. The know-how from bottom fixed offshore wind, the competences of shipyards, and of oil & gas contractors all broadly align with the technical, logistical and operational challenges of floating wind.”
DNV GL revealed at a recent Recharge digital roundtable that half of the expected 2,000-fold expansion in floating wind’s build-out to 2050 is forecast to be off Asia, to supply the mushrooming populations in many of the world’s mega-cities.
Magnus Ebbesen, floating wind lead at DNV GL said: “There is a lot of room for innovation and optimisation, but also for brand new solutions. That brings some risk, but risks that can be managed and minimised. With an evolving technology, flexibility and forward thinking are imperative.
“Get it right, and floating wind presents a very attractive opportunity with healthy returns – for investors and the planet.
“Although the average cost is not expected to become less than for than bottom-fixed wind, the price difference will narrow as both fall,” he added, noting that key to these savings would be the use of bigger nameplate turbines, larger-scale wind farms, further technology developments and development of a highly cost-competitive supply chain.
The UK Carbon Trust forecast recently that 10.7GW of floating wind would be brought online by 2030, before the market mushrooms to levels pointed to by DNV GL, with a total project value approaching $250bn by the end of the next decade.