UK floating offshore wind needs better ports

A new report by the Floating Wind Offshore Wind Taskforce says up to 11 ports around the UK will need to be transformed as fast as possible into new industrial hubs to enable the roll-out of floating offshore wind at scale.

The Industry Roadmap 2040: Building UK Port Infrastructure to Unlock the Floating Wind Opportunity report is sponsored by RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables, The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland. It contains a series of recommendations which could see 34GW of floating wind installed in UK waters by 2040 if the Government takes swift and decisive action. At present Ministers have set a target of 5GW by 2030.

The Taskforce includes the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, the Northern Ireland Executive, major offshore wind and port developers, The Crown Estate, Crown Estate Scotland, RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and other key stakeholders.

The UK is well positioned to become a global leader in cutting-edge floating wind technology, with the biggest project pipeline in the world of 37GW (one-fifth of the global pipeline) and the potential to create tens of thousands of new jobs and attract billions in private investment. Floating wind farms can be built in deeper waters, further from the coast, where wind speeds are even higher. The report highlights the fact that this technology will play a key role in decarbonisation and that it is essential for the UK meets its energy security and net zero targets. Two floating offshore wind farms (Hywind Scotland and Kincardine) are fully operational in UK waters (80MW).

Port upgrades are needed to enable turbines with hub heights taller than 150 metres and their giant floating bases to be manufactured and assembled in coastal locations. The initial focus will be on Scottish ports and the Celtic Sea where floating projects are currently being planned.

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