There is an abundance of wind energy resource in the UK, both onshore and offshore. The UK’s offshore wind resources are already being exploited significantly with government support, but with technology and supply chain development there is a clear and credible trajectory to delivering commercial offshore wind farms. The learning from the Energy Technology Institute’s (ETI’s) Offshore Wind Programme highlights the potential for floating offshore wind turbines. We conclude that floating wind has the potential to be a cost-effective, secure and safe low-carbon energy source that is well positioned to make a significant long-term contribution to the UK’s low carbon energy system.
With technology and supply chain development there is a clear and credible trajectory to delivering commercial offshore wind farms
Floating Wind hasthe potential to be a cost-effective, secure and safe low-carbon energy source which could deliver a levelised cost of energy of less than £85/MWh from the mid-2020s
To deliver improved costs, offshore wind needs access to good quality wind resource close enough to shore and the onshore grid system so that transmission costs are minimised and operations/maintenance costs reduced
Floating technology can provide access to high quality wind resources relatively close to the UK shoreline and in the proximity of population centres
In water depths less than 30m fixed foundations will be the prime solution, in water depths over 50m floating foundations provide the lowest cost solution – a mix of these technologies is likely to offer the lowest cost pathway to deliver large scale deployment in the UK
UK wind resources are abundant and exploitable – and already supplied 9.4% of the UK’s electricity needs in 2014
The UK has the world’s highest offshore wind capacity with over 4GW installed, from over 1100 turbines, average power rating 3.4MW. A further 1.4GW is in construction, 4.8GW has planning permission and the world’s largest in-service offshore wind farm is in the outer Thames Estuary