The Floating Offshore Wind Programme planned for Wales and South West England will require massive investment in port infrastructure if regions around the Celtic Sea are to become global leaders for floating wind technology, according to The Crown Estate.

The organisation, which manages the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has given further detail confirming its ambition to unlock up to 4GW of new clean energy capacity in England and Wales and help establish a new industrial sector for the UK.

The leasing process will deliver enough new capacity to provide clean power for almost four million more homes, in support of the UK’s net zero target, as well as creating opportunities for significant new investment in jobs, skills, and infrastructure.

On the subjects of ports it said: “Delivering floating offshore wind at scale will place substantial demands on infrastructure and the supply chain across the UK. For the sector to reach its full potential, significant early investment in this supporting infrastructure will be required.

“This is a challenge recognised by the UK Government who recently announced £160 million in new funding to kick-start new large scale floating wind ports and factories in the UK; and highlighted the promising prospects for the sector in the Celtic Sea.”

In June this year when the G7 summit was being held, David McGinley, the then chief executive officer of A&P Group, said: “Our facility in Falmouth already delivers complex, technically challenging projects and services to the marine industry, and has deep-water berthing capacity for vessels up to 100,000 tonnes.

“In the coming months we will be putting forward more detailed plans to create a next generation marine hub that will include additional specialist engineering facilities to support offshore renewables as well as wider ‘smart port’ developments.”

David McGinley added: “A&P’s vision is simple to help make Falmouth a prime hub for the floating offshore wind sector, offering fabrication, construction, maintenance, port and marine services to developers and service companies.

“Floating offshore wind has obvious synergies with our business, which is why it is very much part of our plans for future growth here in Falmouth.”

The UK’s current port capacity represents a key challenge and opportunity in this context. Floating wind makes new demands of all our port infrastructure, particularly in terms of quayside water depths and strengthened laydown and working areas.

In real terms, a 4GW floating wind pipeline, delivered in the window 2030 to 2035, could require the construction and launch of hundreds of floating substructures, each the size of ocean-going ships. A huge industrial enterprise, where success will be delivered by optimising the infrastructure across the whole of the UK.

Given the current infrastructure at A&P Falmouth, which is mainly geared up for the multi-million pound MOD Cluster contract along with commercial ship repair, a major investment in a new area to support the wind farm industry would be required.

The UK floating wind supply chain has the potential to create new, skilled jobs and investment that provide a major boost to local, as well as national, economies and help the regions around the Celtic Sea become global leaders for floating wind technology.