The Carbon Trust has kicked off a series of studies to address future challenges for the emergent floating offshore wind sector.
The studies have been commissioned through a joint industry project (JIP) between the Scottish Government and eight industry partners, including DONG Energy, ENGIE, Eolfi, E.ON, innogy, Kyuden Mirai Energy, Statoil and Vattenfall. This marks the second phase of the JIP, which earlier in the year produced a review of the policy and regulatory needs for the sector.
Three projects will be delivered under the second phase of the JIP, focusing on challenges for large scale commercial deployments. Through a competitive tender process the Carbon Trust and the industry partners have selected leading experts in each field to deliver the work, bringing expertise from sectors such as offshore wind, marine renewables, and offshore oil and gas.
A study to investigate challenges for electrical systems for floating wind farms will be delivered by Petrofac and TNEI. This will include assessing novel elements of the electrical infrastructure required for floating wind farms, such as dynamic cables, cable connectors, and deep-water substations.
Ramboll will draw on expertise from both offshore wind and oil and gas to review the design and performance of different mooring systems for floating wind farms. The study will identify opportunities for optimization that can reduce the cost and risk of mooring systems.
A collaboration between London Offshore Consultants, WavEC, and Cathie Associates will investigate the infrastructure requirements and logistical challenges for the installation and maintenance of floating wind farms. This will include an assessment of tow-to-port strategies for major component repairs.
“Port infrastructure will become absolutely critical to the successful development of floating offshore wind farms. Developers and owners will be looking for enhanced capabilities and capacities from the ports they use to support construction and maintenance,” said RV Ahilan, Group Director of Renewables Advisory & Energy Technology at LOC Group with responsibility for overall delivery of the report.
“The industry needs to recognize the logistics and infrastructure of floating offshore wind will be of a much greater scale than we have today. While the number of units may remain similar, the size and footprint of floating foundations are likely to be an order of magnitude greater than hitherto, thus challenging existing infrastructure boundaries. The Carbon Trust and its partners acknowledge that this starts with a sound understanding of the process, and will include transferring knowledge from the oil and gas industry.”
“The installation and maintenance of large floating wind farms will create a number of infrastructure and logistics challenges that go well beyond those faced by the fixed offshore wind industry today. A detailed study on the dockside and offshore operations such as this one will bring these challenges to light and help ready the industry for these developments” said Miguel Lopes, Head of Monitoring and Technology at WavEC and project manager for this study.
Rhodri James, Manager at the Carbon Trust, said: “There is considerable momentum in the floating wind sector with several pilot parks set to be installed by 2020, including three projects in Scotland. However, large scale commercial wind farms will introduce new challenges for this relatively nascent energy technology. These studies will play an important role in identifying and prioritizing the most critical challenges to inform future research initiatives. We are confident that we have assembled a high-quality team of experts with the requisite skills and experience to deliver impactful projects for the JIP partners and wider industry.”
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