‘Floating offshore wind will be fully commercial by 2035’ – DNV survey

28 February 2023

DNV has published new research about the industry’s perception of the growing market for floating offshore wind and its possibilities for mass commercialisation. The research, which surveyed 244 developers, investors, manufacturers, advisors and operators across the world, found that 60% of respondents think floating offshore wind will reach full commercialisation, without subsidies, by 2035, with 25% believing it will be as early as 2030. Reaching these targets is considered ambitious, but early signs are promising, with 60% of those organisations with revenue-producing business in wind expecting to increase investment in floating offshore wind in 2023.

“The view from the industry is clear. There is overwhelming confidence that floating wind can achieve commercial success in a little over 10 years. DNV predicts that by 2050 15% of all offshore wind installed capacity will come from floating turbines. However, barriers must be overcome. Governments can play a leading role in making the market attractive for investment, with long-term, stable policy and regulatory frameworks, and by adapting critical infrastructure such as grids and ports. The industry itself will need to look at cost reduction through greater standardisation and scale-up. At DNV we are committed to supporting the industry. This is an exciting time for the industry, as we move towards commercialisation, floating offshore wind is opening new possibilities for wind power locations and will play a critical role in the transition to a cleaner energy supply,” commented Ditlev Engel CEO, Energy Systems at DNV.

Necessary conditions

Reaching full commercialisation will depend, in part, on the investment potential of key markets. Market size was cited by 21% of respondents as the first criteria for choosing a market to invest in, followed by regulatory and political stability (16%), and power grid suitability (12%).

For floating offshore wind to scale-up, it is paramount that its levelised cost of energy (LCOE) drops as much and as quickly as possible. DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook forecasts that the LCOE for floating offshore wind will fall by almost 80% by 2050. 21% of survey respondents believe that standardisation - either through a reduction in the number of concepts or the emergence of a preferable concept – will be the biggest factor for LCOE reduction. Bigger turbines and industrialisation come next, closely followed by larger wind farms (allowing for economies of scale and greater installed capacity). Standardisation was also cited by the industry as a crucial factor to mitigate risk.

Other challenges that come into play include supply-chain challenges, lack of port infrastructure, and installation vessel availability.

About 300 GW of floating offshore wind will be installed globally in the next 30 years, requiring around 20 000 turbines, each mounted on floating structures weighing more than 5 000 tonnes and secured with so many mooring lines that if they were tied end-to-end, they would wrap around the world twice.

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