Is the future buoyant for UK floating wind infrastructure?

04 April 2024 by Acre
blog author

​Plans are in discussion to develop floating wind port infrastructure and manufacturing centres in the UK.

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence has released a new report which highlights the potential methods to develop the critical port infrastructure and manufacturing centres required to support floating wind deployment.

Floating wind structures operate on platforms reaching the size of a football pitch which can be positioned further out to sea (reaching depths of 50-60 metres) than regular offshore turbines and are fastened with moor lines via an anchor.

Such innovative technology brings a wealth of opportunity in terms of new jobs and specific research and development related to the sector.

The study assesses the current key challenges facing the port infrastructure requirements for floating wind technology, as well as ways to combat such obstacles and support the UK in tapping into economic opportunities.

In addition to looking at some of the key challenges linked to securing major infrastructure investments, the report provides potential pathways and models which could accelerate the private sector investment required to support floating wind deployment to 2030 and beyond.

What are the key points highlighted in the report?

  • Identifying existing investment barriers for UK port infrastructure and manufacturing facilities relevant to floating wind in the UK

  • Understanding the key factors affecting the competitiveness of UK ports and co-location manufactured facilities internationally

  • The options to develop and implement ways to reduce the risk associated with large scale port investment in the UK

Andrew Stormonth-Darling, Programme Manager for ORE Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence, said: “This is an extremely important piece of work in bringing together key stakeholders to examine some of the ways the floating wind and port sectors can come together to find pathways to securing crucial infrastructure for future floating offshore wind aspirations.

“We hope that the pathways we have identified can help policymakers to move forward and create the type of investment environment we need. Given the timescales involved, and the scale of the undertaking, we know that action is needed fast if we are to feel the full economic benefits of this exciting new technology.”

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive, British Ports Association, said: “Floating offshore wind is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and the UK ports industry wants to be pivotal in its delivery. However, there are a number of market and policy challenges we need to overcome to allow ports to invest in the infrastructure and facilities that will be required.

“This report is an important first step in considering these challenges. It will promote a debate with policymakers over how the sector helps deliver the UK’s offshore wind aspirations and how we ensure that energy developers base their activities and jobs in our ports and coastal regions.”