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15 GW global fleet on horizon for market by 2030

As floating wind power surges toward the energy mainstream, analysts have regularly revised future market forecasts upward, with the consensus anticipating a 15 gigawatt fleet turning around the world by 2030.

However, as projects and prototypes are rapidly built out, and the expected cost reductions are achieved, that figure could prove to be conservative.

“A lot is dependent on the speed and the volume ramp-up by the sector,” says BVG Associates director Giles Hundleby.

“We will definitely see a sub-€50 ($56) per megwatt hour (levelised cost of energy) when we see the first 1 GW project switched on — and to be clear, we couldn’t do this tomorrow, it will require 200 MW and 500 MW projects first.

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"And if we can get to 15 GW installed by 2030 — or beyond — then that low an LCOE is achievable.

“You only need to have a few substantial successes in the next couple years — off Japan, France, Scotland, Norway and the US, totalling 6 to 8 GW — and you can start to see how this all takes off.”

As turbine designer Henrik Stiesdal, who is developing a new-look, “industrialisation-minded” floating platform, recently remarked: “At a point, a forecast is just that. Maybe it is good to motivate (the sector) right now, but we certainly shouldn't let it hold us back from achieving a much bigger (build-out of floating wind) around the world by then.”

Luis Gonzalez-Pinto Barrenetxea, head of renewable energy at Saitec, agrees, adding: “Once you get a first commercial floating wind farm, the next 10 years are going to be crazy in how many projects will move forward.”

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