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Study reveals long-term UK floating wind potential – 17,000 jobs and £33.6bn by 2050

Floating wind has an important role to play in supporting the development of the offshore wind supply chain and contributing to 50GW of offshore wind in the UK by 2050, according to a new report.

The Crown Estate Scotland-commissioned study by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult sets out the potential benefits to the UK economy of floating wind development and the different types and costs of government support that may be needed. It is estimated that up to 17,000 jobs and £33.6bn of GVA could be generated by 2050.

The floating wind industry is at an early stage of development. In Scotland, there are currently two operational test and demonstration scale projects. Elsewhere in the UK, there is interest in future floating wind projects at commercial scale, with significant aspirations in Cornwall. 

However, the report indicates that if the contribution of offshore wind is to continue to grow, then floating wind will be increasingly important, contributing at least 10GW by 2050. The global potential market for floating wind is also significantly larger than that for fixed offshore wind due to the extent of deep waters which are suitable for floating but commercially unviable for fixed. This creates an exciting supply chain opportunity if the support is right.

The report indicates that with the right type and levels of early stage support, it would be possible to continue to grow the floating wind sector in the UK and to benefit from that in terms of industry and therefore jobs.

Sian Wilson, senior development manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said, “At a time when the need to tackle climate change has never been greater or starker, and policy support for innovation, industrialisation and regeneration of high quality jobs is increasing, the floating wind opportunity ticks all the boxes. Thousands of UK jobs, global exports and clean and secure energy generation are all up for grabs – if the right government support is in place.”

ORE Catapult’s Head of Insights Gavin Smart, author of the report, added: “Offshore wind will play a significant role in the UK in maximising the economic and industrial benefits of renewable energy generation. However, to reach anything like its full potential will require a significant contribution from floating wind.

“A key part of this study has been industry engagement in formulating and testing assumptions. This has highlighted the strengths of the UK supply chain to serve the domestic and export markets, leveraging heavily from a proven track record in offshore wind and oil and gas.

“With an increasing focus on carbon emissions reductions globally, and the suitability of floating wind technologies to a wide range of water depths and seabed conditions, the UK is well-placed to capitalise on the export opportunities in this growing global market.”

 ENDS

Contact

John Lang: john.lang@crownestatescotland.com   / 0131 260 6070 /  0774180 1225

Image credit: Equinor 

See a full copy of the report here.

Notes to editors

About Crown Estate Scotland

Crown Estate Scotland manages land and property on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. It works with people, businesses and organisations to ensure that the assets are managed in a sustainable way that creates prosperity for Scotland and its communities. The business started operating in April 2017 and pays all revenue profit to the Scottish Government.

Crown Estate Scotland manages:

  • 37,000 hectares of rural land with agricultural tenancies, residential and commercial properties and forestry on four rural estates (Glenlivet, Fochabers, Applegirth and Whitehill)
  • Rights to fish wild salmon and sea trout in in river and coastal areas
  • Rights to naturally-occurring gold and silver across most of Scotland
  • Just under half the foreshore around Scotland including 5,800 moorings and some ports and harbours
  • Leasing of virtually all seabed out to 12 nautical miles covering some 750 fish farming sites and agreements with cables & pipeline operators
  • The rights to offshore renewable energy and gas and carbon dioxide storage out to 200 nautical miles
  • Retail and office units at 39-41 George Street Edinburgh

Crown Estate Scotland is a public corporation which manages the assets on an interim basis until new legislation sets out permanent arrangements.

About the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

ORE Catapult was established in 2013 by the UK Government and is one of a network of Catapults set up by Innovate UK in high growth industries. It is the UK’s leading innovation centre for offshore renewable energy and helps to reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy, supporting the growth of the industry and creating UK benefit.

ore.catapult.org.uk