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Floating Wind Installation Vessels Report

Floating Wind installation vessels

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 11 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 installed capacity is forecast to reach 63 GW by 2035. This translates to the installation of close to 4,000 floating turbines, over 14,000 anchors and close to 21 million meters of mooring lines.

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 light 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 as having a bollard pull of at least 250 tonnes and a clear back deck of over 800 square meters. Chain and fibre rope handling capacities of over 200 millimetres are expected, challenging much of the existing fleet capabilities.

For towing, anchor handlers of 200 tonnes bollard pull and above are identified as optimal. Larger light subsea construction vessels featuring active heave compensated subsea cranes of 250 tonnes and back decks of at least 800 (and more likely 1,200+) square meters will be deployed for suction anchor installation.

The large anchor handling segment has seen limited recent new building activity due to poor market conditions in the core oil & gas sector, with only five large anchor handlers delivered in the last five years. Oil and gas activity, both commissioning and decommissioning, is currently picking up, reducing available supply of anchor handlers and light construction vessel. The challenge is accentuated by an aging fleet, much of which becomes technically uncompetitive by 2030.

This 100+ 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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  • Floating Wind Installation Vessels Update Report
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