The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) recently published a report outlining the clear opportunities floating offshore wind presents for nations and renewable energy across the globe during the next decade.

The report, “Floating Offshore Wind: A Global Opportunity”, was commissioned by GWEC and authored by research and analytics company Aegir Insights. It assessed the floating wind energy market readiness and potential of 115 countries, specifying the significant role it could have in the goal to achieve net-zero emissions as the world reduces its reliance on fossil fuels such as gas, coal and oil.

The report focuses on established floating wind energy markets in the UK, South Korea, Japan and France, as well as five countries – Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Philippines and USA – which all have significant floating wind potential.

“Offshore wind is a vital tool in global action to decarbonise,” says GWEC CEO Ben Backwell. “While the focus of this decade is rapid growth of fixed offshore wind, we also need to see political leadership so floating offshore wind is ready to play its part.”

The report states that 80 per cent of the world’s offshore wind resource potential lies in waters deeper than 60 metres, meaning its potential far outweighs fixed-bottom turbine wind energy generation. However, affirmative political action targetting floating offshore wind energy is required to kickstart it as a renewable powerhouse.

“As floating wind technologies mature, it is critical that governments create policy to enable the rapid rollout of new projects in support of global net-zero emissions targets,” says Joe Nai, general manager, Asia Offshore Wind and Shell representative to the GWEC Offshore Wind Task Force.

“Alongside bottom-fixed offshore wind, solar and hydrogen, floating offshore wind has an opportunity to play a major part in the world’s future energy mix. This report helps to identify the policies that will provide the platform for success.”

The five emerging floating wind energy countries profiled in the report have a combined floating offshore wind technical potential of 3861GW, equivalent of around 2.6 times Italy’s current electricity demand, and a phenomenal 69 times Ireland’s existing demand.

The report identifies a shortlist of 30 markets with “very high technical potential for floating offshore wind”, with Australia named as having a “clear opportunity for floating offshore wind as a route to supporting long-term decarbonisation.”

In Australia, Victoria is leading the charge towards floating offshore wind farms, with the state government recently setting defined offshore wind targets.

“The biggest factor in identifying new breakout floating offshore wind markets is government action and leadership,” states the report. “Governments need to show ambition. Their actions can be the catalyst to kickstarting successful floating offshore wind deployment, which can bring economic advantage and rapid action in emissions reduction.”

Chair of GWEC’s Floating Offshore Wind Task Force, Henrik Stiesdal, says floating wind energy is at a critical juncture.

“Floating offshore wind is at an exciting point in its journey,” he says. “Having proven the technology, we now need to accelerate its delivery, and this means working with countries new to offshore wind.”