Energy production and use make up almost three quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions. This makes transitioning the global energy supply away from coal, oil, and gas to solar energy and onshore and offshore wind a key priority in the fight against climate change. And there’s no time to waste: To limit global warming to 1.5 °C, global emissions must be halved by 2030 – and net-zero emissions must be achieved by mid-century.
Floating foundations are an important enabler in harnessing the large renewable energy potential of offshore wind, bringing wind turbines to deeper waters and greater wind speeds. According to a 2019 study by the International Energy Agency, 80 % of the global offshore wind resource potential is in waters with depths exceeding 60 metres. Some of this potential is situated in existing offshore wind markets, where it will complement bottom-fixed capacity; but much of it brings offshore wind to entirely new markets and geographies, where bottom-fixed foundations are impractical.
The technical potential of floating offshore wind, if realised, means that by the mid-2030s, it could form a major part of the global renewable energy mix. The bottom-fixed build-out will be continuing at pace, but roughly one in five of all new wind turbines entering the water annually by that point could be standing on floating foundations.