Wind energy – floating wind
A new report released today analyses the technical opportunities and challenges for the floating offshore wind sector to overcome, as it moves towards commercial scale farms.
The findings are the result of the latest work undertaken by the Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (JIP), the world-leading collaborative floating wind research and development program managed by the Carbon Trust.
According to the report, despite Covid-19 related delays the global floating offshore wind industry is expected to grow from 74MW at the time of this release to 126MW by the end of 2021 with the completion of the largest floating offshore wind farm to date at Kincardine, Scotland.
Many countries are considering floating wind, as it opens up new areas with high-wind resources that are not suitable for bottom-fixed installations, such as very deep waters.
However, as outlined in the report the industry has certain inherent challenges that need to be addressed in order to maximise the efficiency of commercial-scale floating offshore wind farms.
• Heavy lift maintenance: commercial floating offshore wind farms are likely to be installed in deeper waters, where conventional jack-up vessels will not be a viable option. On top of this, the relative motion of the turbine versus a floating maintenance vessel is a key risk that needs to be mitigated.
• Tow-to-port: better solutions to safely disconnect and store all the connections when bringing the turbine back to port were researched, providing recommendations depending on the turbine platform design and the distance to port.
• Mooring in challenging environments: both very deep and very shallow waters come with inherent challenges for anchoring floating offshore wind platforms, from selecting the most cost-efficient mooring system, to mitigating the strong dynamic motions of waves experienced in shallower waters.
The Phase III Summary report outlines these challenges and summarises the solutions that have emerged as part of the projects delivered within Phase-III and a technological competition managed by the Carbon Trust and the Floating Wind JIP.