The Block Island Wind Farm, pictured in 2016, is located in the waters off the east coast of the United States.
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On Thursday, the White House said it was targeting 15 gigawatts of offshore floating wind capacity by 2035, as it looks to compete with Europe and Asia in the nascent sector.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is launching concerted actions to develop new offshore wind platforms, a new clean energy technology that will give the United States a lead in offshore wind,” a statement also released by the Department of Energy said. U.S. Interior announced. .
The announcement said the 15 GW target would provide enough clean energy to power more than 5 million homes. It builds on the administration’s goal of reaching 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, an ambition currently most likely to be met by fixed bottom installations.
Along with its 15 GW ambition, the “Offshore Floating Wind Shooting” will “aim to reduce the cost of floating technologies by more than 70% by 2035, to $45 per megawatt-hour,” the statement added. .
“Bringing floating offshore wind technology to scale will open new opportunities for offshore wind power off the coasts of California and Oregon, in the Gulf of Maine, and beyond,” it said.
Floating offshore wind turbines differ from offshore fixed bottom wind turbines, which are rooted in the seabed. One advantage of floating turbines is that they can be installed in much deeper waters than fixed bottom turbines.
In a fact sheet outlining its plans, the US Department of Energy said about two-thirds of the US offshore wind potential exists “over waters too deep for ‘bottomless’ wind turbine platforms. fixed’ secured on the seabed.”
“Exploiting energy over water hundreds to thousands of feet deep requires offshore floating wind technology – turbines are attached to a floating platform or platform anchored to the seabed by mooring lines,” it said. “These installations are among the largest rotating machines ever built.”
In recent years, a number of large companies have entered the offshore floating wind sector.
Back in 2017, Norwegian energy company Equinor — a major player in the oil and gas sector — has opened Hywind Scotland, a five-turbine, 30-megawatt facility it calls “the world’s first floating wind farm.”
Last year also saw some major developments in the emerging industry.
In August 2021, RWE Renewables and Kansai Electric Power signed an agreement that will see the two enterprises “jointly study the feasibility of a large-scale offshore floating wind project” in waters off Japan.
The Norwegian company Statkraft also announced that a long-term purchase agreement involving a large wind farm floating offshore off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland, has begun. And a few months later, in December 2021, plans for three major offshore wind development projects in Australia – two of which are expected to incorporate floating wind technology – were announced.
When it comes to broader offshore winds, the US has a long way to go to catch up with Europe.
The country’s first offshore wind facility, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, only started commercial operations at the end of 2016.
While comparing, Europe installs 17.4 GW of wind capacity by 2021according to data from industry body WindEurope.
However, change is coming and in November 2021 the ground has been broken in what has been dubbed the United States’ first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.