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As global leaders meet at COP27 to discuss goals and actions to tackle climate change, a critical renewable energy initiative to transition away from fossil fuel reliance is struggling to meet 2030 targets, according to a new report by offshore wind market analysts, 4C Offshore.
The findings, published in their latest Global Floating Wind report indicate that progress toward a crucial contributor to the world's future energy supply is falling behind. Targets for 2030 wind production from floating (rather than fixed) wind farms are set to be missed across the globe. However, the report notes that, rather than being a supply issue, lack of progress is often down to administrative delays, with governments failing to follow up on their climate promises with clear policies and permitting and regulatory frameworks to kick-start floating offshore wind in their territories.
Compared with the previous report from May 2022, their forecasts to 2030 and 2035 have both been reduced by 2GW. This decrease reflects continued policy-side delays and slow authorization processes in multiple countries. Despite high ambitions from developers, with several companies having floating project pipelines greater than 10 GW, development will slow without proper government support.
The latest report estimates that 14 GW of floating wind power will be installed or in construction offshore by 2030. However, this represents only 5% of the total expected offshore wind installations and is less than the 54GW targeted by the world's energy regulators. Although countries like Japan, Norway, Portugal, and the UK were first out of the blocks, the US and Korea appear to carry the greatest momentum. Both are expected to produce around 10 GW of energy from floating wind capacity by 2035, representing nearly half of the world's total. China is also expected to commercialize quickly, with the first GW-scale project being commissioned before 2030.
But a key message from the report is that, although the current trajectory points in the wrong direction, there is still time to regain some lost ground. With the potential for floating wind installation to begin within seven years of site award, we are now entering a crucial window of opportunity.
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