Rising to the challenge and floating the future

A lot has happened since all eyes were focussed on COP26 in November last year. Rising energy prices have put a huge squeeze on household budgets and continue to drive inflation. The war in Ukraine has further accentuated the situation and pushed ‘energy security’ up the political agenda. Against this backdrop governments around the world still need to deliver on ambitious net zero targets.

The pressure is well and truly on.

Marine Power Systems welcomes Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Energy Security Strategy which sets sights on a fivefold increase in offshore wind capacity to 50GW by 2030, of which 5GW will be delivered by floating wind. Speed is going to be of the essence if we are going to achieve that. The UK Government has already committed to running its Contracts for Difference auctions every year from March 2023 onwards but the whole planning and consenting process needs to happen more quickly.

The kind of industrial scale developments that will be required to meet the UK’s capacity targets mean farm developments will need to be delivered quickly and the assembly and deployment of a single floating platform will need to take around a week.

When it comes to port infrastructure it is becoming clear that a ‘one size fits all’ strategy will not meet every single project requirement when they are determined by the specific project or technology being deployed. At the same time developers are being challenged to maximise local content delivery and accelerate project delivery to help keep costs down.

Marine Power Systems recognised these challenges early in the design process of its flexible floating offshore wind platform and provides a solution that maximises access to local ports and minimises the need for infrastructure development. The platform’s low mass reduces quayside requirements, including load bearing capacity and storage needs, and the shallow draught system removes the need for expensive dredging. Multiple launch options support a distributed port model for faster industrial scale deployments and reduce specific port requirements. The modular nature of our technology and structurally efficient tetrahedral design means our floating platform has only seven primary steel components and three distinct parts.

Working with a wide range of industry stakeholders, Marine Power Systems is helping to set clear objectives to deliver floating offshore wind at scale. We are advancing relationships with a cohort of strong industrial partners, bringing the expertise, competence and flexibility required to meet market demand throughout the world. 

Looking to the future, according to DNV, a world leading advisor to the maritime industry, global installed floating offshore wind capacity could amount to 264GW by 2050. Floating turbines access around four times as much ocean surface as fixed bottom turbines and this allows developers to target areas with higher wind speed, whilst reducing social and environmental impact.

There is little doubt that delivering at scale represents a huge challenge. Developers need to work with the right technology partners, embrace collaboration, demonstrate ambition, and invest in the future. Policymakers must continue to create the right environment for this to happen. 

Between us we are making this happen and our future, at least in part, is in fact floating.