The company plans to participate in the upcoming floating wind lease sale in the Celtic Sea, under which 4 GW of capacity is scheduled to be tendered in mid-2023. The Crown Estate has narrowed the "areas of search" and plans to first tender "early-commercial scale" leases of 300-350 MW, followed by larger projects of up to 1 GW. The tendering process will be split into three stages, with participating bidders expected to submit plans for investment in the end-to-end floating wind supply chain.
The Celtic Sea is one of only two UK locations where floating offshore wind turbines will be deployed at scale, the other being Scotland. Interestingly, the UK government recently awarded its first Contract for Difference (CfD) for a floating wind farm to developer Hexicon, for its 32 MW TwinHub project offshore Cornwal. The contract was awarded through a special pot in the UK Round 4 auction, at a price of £87.3/MWh. The CfD price achieved by Hexicon is “an initial line in the sand that other developers will be looking very closely at,” according to energy services provider Kent. The price of future floating wind projects could be higher due to less favorable site conditions, the firm added.
Equinor is one of the pioneers of the floating offshore wind segment, having developed the 30 MW Hywind Scotland wind farm in 2017 with an estimated capacity factor of 54% across its lifespan. Equinor is also currently constructing the 88 MW Hywind Tampen project in Norway, which will be the largest floating offshore wind farm in the world when completed in 2023. The company’s announcement highlights the increasing presence of oil and gas (O&G) majors in the floating offshore wind space, as these companies seek to leverage their technological expertise gained from offshore oil and gas installations. Other O&G majors looking to establish a footprint in the region are Shell and TotalEnergies, who are currently developing projects in separate partnerships with Simply Blue Energy. Another large-scale energy player who plans to tap floating wind opportunities in the region is RWE, who recently announced an agreement to evaluate 1 GW of projects in the Celtic Sea.
The above analysis is proprietary to Enerdatics’ energy analytics team, based on the current understanding of the available data. The information is subject to change and should not be taken to constitute professional advice or a recommendation.