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Floating Wind Installation Vessels Report - Mar 2023

Floating wind is an emerging technology. Currently being tested in small scale demonstration and pilot projects, global floating wind commissioned capacity at the end of 2022 was less than 200 MW. By 2030, close to 7 GW of commercial scale wind farms are planned to be commissioned in Europe and the Asia Pacific Region. 2030-2035 will see a period a high commissioning activity as the USA joins established European and Asia Pacific markets. Floating wind installed capacity is forecast to reach 63 GW by 2035. This translates to the mooring pre-lay of over 5,800 mooring spreads and the hook-up of around 5,200 turbines.

More than 21,500 anchors and close to 27.5 million meters of mooring lines will be installed between 2023 and 2035.

Whereas floating wind projects will leverage experiences from the bottom-fixed industry, there will also be many differences, particularly in how floating turbines are constructed and installed. The differences drive demand for a different type of vessel than seen for bottom-fixed offshore wind projects. For floating wind projects, we will see large anchor handlers and subsea construction vessels deployed to pre-install mooring systems designed to maintain the position of the floating wind turbines, to tow the structures from port and to hook-up the floating turbines to pre-existing moorings.

Our analysis identifies the optimal size of AHTS for mooring pre-lay and hook-up for current demonstration and pilot projects is a vessel with a bollard pull of at least 250 tonnes and a clear back deck of over 800 square meters.

However, chain and fibre rope handling capacities of over 200 millimetres are expected, challenging much of the existing fleet capabilities and creating the conditions for new build demand.

For towing, anchor handlers of 200 tonnes bollard pull and above are identified as optimal.

This 130+ page report analyzes the market and technical drivers driving a shortage of the main installation vessels required to service demand from the end of this decade through 2035.

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