Britain to launch $220 million fund to boost floating wind power industry

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FILE PHOTO: General view of the Walney Extension offshore wind farm operated by Orsted off the coast of Blackpool
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By Susanna Twidale

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will launch a 160 million pound ($220 million) fund to help developers of floating offshore wind technology as part of efforts to ramp up renewable power and meet climate targets, the government said on Friday.

The announcement comes as Britain seeks to boost its green credentials before hosting the United Nations' COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow from Sunday.

“Floating offshore wind is key to unlocking the spectacular wind energy resource we enjoy in the UK, particularly in the deep waters around the coasts of Scotland and Wales,” energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement.

Britain has a target to generate 40 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from offshore wind by 2030 - up from around 10 GW currently - which it says would be enough to power every home. Floating wind farms are expected to account for 1 GW of that.

Floating wind farms are an emerging technology with far higher costs than plants fixed to the seabed, but costs are expected to fall as more projects are brought online, opening up the potential to develop sites further offshore.

Details on how cash will be allocated will be set out after consultation with industry, the government said, with the new money being part of the 1.4 billion pound Global Britain Investment Fund announced in Wednesday’s budget.

Scotland’s Crown Estate this year launched a tender for seabed licences around the coast for up to 10 GW, attracting bids from renewables companies and oil majors, with many of the sites likely to require floating wind technology.

The Crown Estate for England, Wales and Northern Ireland has also launched a leasing round just for floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea for 0.3 GW of projects.

($1 = 0.7257 pounds)

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by David Goodman)

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