Harvesting wind in previously inaccessible seabed areas has many advantages, but there are some obstacles that need to be overcome before we can deploy floating offshore wind at scale. One of the main challenges is the lack of standardisation in emerging technologies. Additionally, significant investment in port infrastructure is required to make deployment feasible.
Fixed-bottom turbines currently dominate the global offshore wind market, but their limitations in deep water make floating alternatives attractive to scale up offshore wind deployment.
Floating wind, forecasted to reach more than 25GW by the mid 2030s, offers numerous advantages, including access to higher wind speeds further out at sea, expanded seabed areas, and reduced environmental impact during installation and operation.
Key players, such as the UK, the US and China, and numerous European countries, are making significant allocations for floating offshore wind projects. But despite the potential, the mass roll-out of floating wind turbines faces technical challenges. These include a lack of standardisation in the emerging technologies around foundation design, as well as supply chain constraints, leading to a relatively high levelised cost of energy.
Overcoming these barriers requires substantial investment, port infrastructure development and policy support. As countries race to achieve their energy transtion goals, floating offshore wind is likely to be a mix of innocation and co-operation.
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