RenewableUK, the trade body for the wind and marine energy industries in the UK, launched a new industry group on Monday with the intention of developing a strategy for the large-scale deployment of floating wind technology.
The Floating Wind Steering Group, developed by RenewableUK in partnership with Scottish Renewables — the renewable energy trade body for Scotland — will meet regularly in an effort to develop a strategy and consensus vision for developing the future of floating wind technology, as well as seeking to explore the business case for floating wind’s continued development across the UK. The Steering Group will be made up of representatives from a range of developers and supply chain companies, including Equinor, GE, Shell, and the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult).
The move comes only a couple of weeks after the UK Government announced the launch of its long-awaited Offshore Wind Sector Deal which is targeting 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind, accounting for 30% of Britain’s electricity, by 2030 — and increasing to 50 GW by 2050. The UK’s offshore industry has committed to investing at least £250 million to meet this target, and hopes to also triple “green collar” jobs by 2030, ensuring at least a third of all these jobs are held by women.
“This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector,” said Claire Perry, Energy & Clean Growth Minister. “By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain, and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action.”
The new Floating Wind Steering Group is hoping that the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will also seek to include floating offshore wind in its future plans. Currently, and in the wake of its Cost of Energy Review, BEIS is developing a White Paper intended to update the UK Government’s electricity strategy. Partnered with mention of floating wind in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the new Steering Group is looking to ensure floating wind has a future in the UK’s energy mix.
“The UK has a unique opportunity to pioneer a new technology which has a truly global potential,” said Emma Pinchbeck, Deputy CEO at RenewableUK. “Industry leaders are working together to ensure that Government seizes that opportunity. As we step up decarbonisation of the energy system, competitive new technologies like floating wind will be good for consumers.”
“Innovation is key to the long-term growth set out in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal and floating turbines will open up new areas in deeper waters, particularly off the coast of Scotland with new sites for development currently being considered,” added Jenny Hogan, Deputy Chief Executive at Scottish Renewables. “Globally, much of the offshore wind potential is in deeper waters that will need floating technology, so this sector offers new industrial opportunities across the UK.”
“We are extremely pleased to be involved in this important industry initiative,” said Gavin Smart, ORE Catapult’s Head of Insights and Steering Group Representative, when reached for comment. “The global potential market for floating wind is significant, presenting new opportunities for UK businesses to capitalise on development and export opportunities. ORE Catapult looks forward to building on previous work we’ve undertaken examining the macroeconomic benefits to the UK economy of a thriving floating offshore wind industry.”