The floating offshore wind sector in the UK can deliver almost £34bn in economic benefits by 2050, according to RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables.
In a joint report, Floating Wind – The UK Industry Ambition, published on 31 October, RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables said that floating offshore wind will be key for the UK to reach its legally-binding 2050 net zero target and in enabling Scotland to hit the same goal by 2045. As well as a offering return of £15 for each £1 invested in early stage support, the report said floating wind could support 17,000 jobs by 2050, especially in coastal communities.
It further outlined that due to the UK having a global lead in floating offshore wind, it was in a unique position to export it to emerging markets worldwide, including China, Japan, Norway, Portugal and Spain. By 2031, this market is set to be worth at least £230mn to UK exporters.
The report suggested the government use the Contracts for Difference auction framework to create a specific funding pot for technologies such as floating wind, adding it could secure an increase in capacity from 32MW today to 2GW by 2030. This would also make floating wind cost competitive by that date. Other recommendations to realise floating offshore wind’s potential included potential sites being made available all around the UK, and for government and industry to join forces to invest in new infrastructure supporting the development of floating wind under the UK Industrial Strategy.
RenewableUK’s Head of Policy and Regulation, Rebecca Williams, said “The renewable energy sector has built its success on delivering innovation; floating wind is a prime example of what we can achieve. Our vision is to do much more at scale, securing further cost reduction and much-needed new capacity.”