The world is sold on offshore renewable energy, but with a myopic focus on wind. The US has a stated federal goal of 30GW of wind by 2030, but the States are more ambitious with stated objectives of adding 51 GW of fixed and 15GW of floating wind by 2030. Globally those numbers are 1748GW of fixed and 264GW of floating by 2050 (Ref 1,2), up from only 56GW total now. The problem is the supply chain is not ready to support this. Currently there are only 17 wind turbine installation vessels capable of installing 10MW turbines, and only 3 capable of installing the newest 14 MW turbines, with another 13 vessels due by 2026. Recent developments using floating heavy lift vessels will add to these numbers but not in quantities enough to alleviate the problem and vessels such as the Thialf come with very high price tags.

As recent events have shown, the world needs to free itself from dependence on unreliable sources of energy. This makes the above situation even more troublesome, as the projected numbers going out as far as 2050 fall very short of what is needed. Not just for climate goals but even for the more modest goal of not relying on imported oil and gas. Taking Europe and NATO as an example, and even counting oil and gas production, there is an energy deficit of 9PWh per year. Just to make up that deficit will require far more renewable energy than is currently planned.

To achieve the desired green energy goals, it needs to be recognized that there are other options that can be pursued in conjunction with offshore wind, as well as new ways to install offshore renewable energy, both of which can relieve the pressure on the present supply and offshore installation market.

This paper describes:

The ways to eliminate the global installation vessel bottle neck and simultaneously speed up deployment.

How alternatives to conventional wind turbines can extend the supply chain, decouple it from some of the critical material dependencies and make other offshore areas feasible for wind energy conversion.

How combining multiple renewable energy technologies, placing them onto shared offshore platforms will make them more secure, increase the GW/year that can be installed, and reduce the need for power storage.

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