Clean energy

Floating offshore wind has the potential to access 58% of US wind resources.

Progress in the United States

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The commitment to renewable energy in the United States is in full swing. While Europe has more than 5,400 offshore wind turbines in operation, the US has only seven, all of them located on the east coast of the country. 

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The high wind speeds and shallow waters of the Atlantic Ocean make it possible to develop wind power activity in the eastern part of the country. The opposite is true for the west, where the outer continental shelf of the Pacific Ocean sinks rapidly to depths of more than 60 metres, making the ocean unsuitable for traditional fixed-bottom wind turbines.

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However, a solution is emerging: the push for floating offshore wind technology. Two locations in California have been identified for commercial-scale floating developments. Together, they could contribute 4.6 GW of clean energy to the grid, enough to power 1.6 million US homes. Global forecasts predict that the growth of floating offshore wind will increase from the current 100 GW to 250 GW by 2050. 

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This nascent technology involves mounting a 1,500-tonne turbine, equivalent to the weight of about 10 blue whales, on a floating platform moored to the seabed.

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The world's largest operational floating offshore wind farm is operating in Kincardine Scotland, with a capacity of 50MW, enough electricity to power around 55,000 Scottish homes.

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New projects are being proposed across Europe and Asia. In 2022, an EU-funded project led by Iberdrola will see the largest single turbine, with a capacity of 10 MW, installed in Norwegian waters. 

A safe bet to boost renewables

Just as the Iberdrola group pioneered the development of onshore wind power more than two decades ago, the company is now leading the development of offshore wind power, one of the keys to the company's growth, on which it began its commitment 15 years ago.

The commitment to offshore wind will be strengthened in the coming years. To this end, Iberdrola has a project portfolio of more than 43,000 MW, of which almost 30,000 MW -67 % of the total- correspond to offshore developments. 

In this way, the group confirms its global leadership in this technology. Focused on countries with ambitious renewable targets, the company has projects in Germany, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, Poland, Taiwan and the Philippines.  It also has initiatives in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Source: FT