With about 80% of the world’s offshore wind power potential lying in waters deeper than 60 metres, floating wind technology will play a vital role in the energy transition and in reducing our global carbon emissions.
A recent report by RenewableUK highlighted that the UK is the world’s most attractive investment market for floating offshore wind, with 14% of the global capacity being developed in UK waters. Arven is currently one of the UK’s largest planned floating offshore wind farms, aspiring to become a flagship project in driving the UK deployment of floating technology and its delivery of net zero.
By adopting floating foundations rather than fixed foundations, offshore wind projects can capitalise on the strong and continuous wind resource further out at sea, with no seabed depth limitations. This brings greater generation capacity to meet high demand for decarbonised electricity as the world switches away from its use of fossil fuels in heating and transport. So far, there are 14 pre-commercial floating wind projects in seven countries globally, two of which are in the UK.
Leveraging over five decades of energy sector experience brought by its partners, Arven is an important project which could influence future best practise – providing learnings for the anticipated 400+ floating offshore wind projects estimated to begin early development around the world by the end of 2032.
Why is Arven using floating offshore wind technology?
Arven unlocks the potential of Shetland’s abundant offshore wind resources which would not have been possible until recently thanks to the development of floating foundation technology. With water depths over 100m at the Arven site, the use of fixed foundations would not be viable.
What’s the developers’ experience with deploying floating technology?
Arven’s project partners, Ocean Winds and Mainstream Renewable Power, have significant experience in the development of floating offshore wind farms. Another joint venture between the partners in South Korea – the 1.2GW KF Wind project – demonstrates a shared commitment to advancing floating technology on a global scale. Notably, Ocean Winds’ pioneering work in Portugal with the operational WindFloat Atlantic, the world’s first semi-submersible floating offshore wind farm, and the EFGL floating offshore wind project currently under construction in France, highlight the experience and expertise behind Arven.
The Aker group, which Mainstream is a part of, has over six decades of designing and developing floating structures for the offshore industry and is uniquely placed to take lessons learned and best practice from oil and gas into the offshore wind sector.
The partners are actively contributing to the industry’s growth by supporting supply chain development and technology readiness. As major shareholders in Principle Power, a leading floating technology company specialising in the design of structures for offshore wind turbines in deeper waters, Ocean Winds and Mainstream Renewable Power remain committed to supporting the advancement of floating technology.
Arven’s planned use of floating offshore wind technology is not only a significant stride in meeting future electricity demands and net zero but paves the way for the broader adoption of floating technology across the offshore wind industry.
What are the next steps for Arven?
Arven is a long-term project, with several decisions still to be determined. The project team is committed to working in partnership with communities, listening intently and moving forward with integrity. Early engagement is ongoing with various stakeholders including fisheries and the supply chain.
Shetland has exceptional infrastructure, including Lerwick Harbour, a skilled workforce, and an outstanding track record on delivering major energy projects. Together with partners, Arven will lean on Shetland’s strong capabilities through the construction, operation and maintenance stages of the project.