A study conducted by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, and commissioned by Crown Estate Scotland, has revealed that the UK floating wind industry could support 17,000 jobs and generate £33.6bn in gross value added (GVA) by 2050.
The report said that floating wind is expected to play a key role in the UK’s offshore wind supply chain development and also contribute towards 50GW of offshore wind in the country by 2050.
With government support and growing contribution of offshore wind, the floating wind will contribute at least 10GW by 2050, the report noted.
Crown Estate Scotland senior development manager Sian Wilson said: “At a time when the need to tackle climate change has never been greater or starker, and policy support for innovation, industrialisation and regeneration of high-quality jobs is increasing, the floating wind opportunity ticks all the boxes.
“Thousands of UK jobs, global exports and clean and secure energy generation are all up for grabs – if the right government support is in place.”
The report suggested that the floating wind industry is at the initial stages of development, and there are currently two operational test and demonstration-scale projects in Scotland.
In the North Sea offshore Scotland, Norwegian energy firm Equinor has tested the 30MW Hywind Scotland floating wind farm, which began generating electricity in October 2017. The company has also looked to use floating wind farms to power its oil and gas operations.
The study further indicated an interest at commercial scale for UK floating wind projects.
ORE Catapult insights head Gavin Smart said: “Offshore wind will play a significant role in the UK in maximising the economic and industrial benefits of renewable energy generation. However, to reach anything like its full potential will require a significant contribution from floating wind.
“A key part of this study has been industry engagement in formulating and testing assumptions. This has highlighted the strengths of the UK supply chain to serve the domestic and export markets, leveraging heavily from a proven track record in offshore wind and oil and gas.
“With an increasing focus on carbon emissions reductions globally and the suitability of floating wind technologies to a wide range of water depths and seabed conditions, the UK is well-placed to capitalise on the export opportunities in this growing global market.”