Floating Wind Joint Industry Project R&D findings delivered to support 70GW by 2040

Floating Wind JIP

The Carbon Trust has today released the latest summary findings from the Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (JIP). The Floating Wind Joint Industry Project - Phase II summary report, outlines floating wind technology challenges prioritised by developers to accelerate the commercialisation of floating wind. 

The findings summarise the work undertaken as part of Phase II of the Floating Wind JIP, across four main themes: turbine requirements and foundations scaling, heavy lift offshore operations, dynamic export cables and monitoring and inspection.

The report also includes new market projections from the Carbon Trust, forecasting 70GW of floating wind capacity installed by 2040.

Floating wind is an emerging but growing renewable energy sector. The technology enables offshore wind turbine installation in deeper waters not suitable for bottom-fixed turbines, unlocking new areas for renewable energy generation. Pilot and demonstration projects have shown the potential for similar, or even higher yields from floating turbines compared to bottom-fixed projects, as they can be situated in locations with higher wind resource. 

However, technology development challenges to commercialisation remain. Phase II projects addressed some of these, with key findings below.

Next-generation turbines only need minor modifications for floating 

A study on turbine requirements and foundations scaling, delivered by Ramboll, looked at the potential impacts of installing larger, next generation turbines on floating substructures. Aside from turbine towers and controllers, it found that only minor modifications would likely be needed for future turbines, and that the required relative primary steel, secondary steel and mooring mass decreases for larger turbines.

New vessels or alternative lifting solutions needed for floating offshore heavy lift operations 

A heavy lift offshore operations study undertaken by Seaway 7 investigated the challenges associated with floating heavy lift offshore construction and maintenance operations for turbines up to 20MW. It found that the limited availability and high cost of suitable floating heavy lift vessels in the market at present is a barrier to cost effectively undertaking operations offshore. There is a need for vessels capable of undertaking the required heavy lift operations or alternative lifting solutions, such as climbing crane technology.  

Dynamic export cable products for floating farms in development

This project, delivered by BPP Cable Solutions, investigated the challenges and assisted in the development of high voltage dynamic export cables required to transport power from floating offshore wind farms. Previous JIP studies have highlighted a lack of suitable dynamic cables currently available on the market. A competition was launched to support cable manufacturers develop and test suitable designs. Five cable manufacturers are currently being supported by the JIP to make these available as products for future projects.

No ‘quick win’ solutions for floating monitoring and inspection

A study focused on monitoring and inspection undertaken by Oceaneering, looked at the techniques for assessing the integrity of floating wind farms. It concluded that improvement is needed in both the collection of data and its usage to inform and manage asset integrity for floating wind farms, and in particular for subsea assets. For this there were no ‘quick win’ solutions, but techniques such as a digital twin approach, or unmanned vessels, could support cost effective solutions.

These studies follow on from Phase I of the JIP’s work which started with a focus on electrical systems, mooring systems, and logistics for construction and operation for floating wind. Findings were published from these projects in 2018

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: 

“I am sure that floating offshore wind will play a crucial role in our future renewables generation, and in helping us achieve a green recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting research and development that will help address challenges associated with helping achieve commercial scale deployment of floating offshore wind, and are supporting innovation in the sector through our funding of the Floating Wind Joint Industry Project.

“The findings of this report from Phase II of the project are very much welcomed. It is particularly encouraging to see the significant growth projected for the floating offshore wind industry in the coming decades and we are keen to explore early opportunities associated with the ScotWind leasing round of Crown Estate Scotland, the electrification of production platforms in the oil and gas sector and for production of ‘green hydrogen’ for use in transport, heating and industry. The development of floating wind offers a massive opportunity for sustainable growth of the Scottish economy while realising our net-zero ambitions.”

Dan Kyle Spearman, manager of the Floating Wind JIP, the Carbon Trust, commented:

“This report marks the culmination of over a years’ work through the Floating Wind JIP and it is clear that floating wind offers technology and supply chain investment opportunities. 

We expect that it will become a key sector for low carbon power generation and economic growth in geographies where deeper waters do not allow for bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines. The time is now for the floating wind industry to look to pre-commercial and commercial projects to deliver the cost reduction necessary for the sector to compete with other renewable energy options.”


Notes to editors

For further information please contact the Carbon Trust press office on +44 (0) 20 7170 7050 or press@carbontrust.com.

About the Floating Wind JIP

The Floating Wind JIP is a collaborative research and development initiative between the Carbon Trust, Scottish Government, and 15 leading international offshore wind developers: EDF Renouvables, EnBW, Equinor, Kyuden Mirai Energy, Ørsted, OW Offshore (a joint venture between ENGIE and EDPR), Parkwind, RWE Renewables (including the former renewables business of innogy), ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, SSE Renewables, TEPCO, TOTAL, Vattenfall, and wpd. Quotes from the developers are available upon request.

Since its formation in 2016, the JIP has been delivered in two stages, each consisting of studies to outline the critical needs for the floating offshore wind sector to reach cost parity with other energy technologies. Phase III projects are due to be completed in 2020. A series of follow-on projects will be delivered in 2020 as part of Phase IV.

About the Carbon Trust

Established in 2001, the Carbon Trust works with businesses, governments and institutions around the world, helping them contribute to, and benefit from, a more sustainable future through carbon reduction, resource efficiency strategies, and commercialising low carbon businesses, systems and technologies.

The Carbon Trust:

  • Works with corporates and governments, helping them to align their strategies with climate science and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement
  • Provides expert advice and assurance, giving investors and financial institutions the confidence that green finance will have genuinely green outcomes
  • Supports the development of low carbon technologies and solutions, building the foundations for the energy system of the future.

Headquartered in London, the Carbon Trust has a global team of over 200 staff, representing more than 30 nationalities based across five continents.