Floating wind: Technology assessment – interim findings

Published 23 June 2015

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has today issued interim findings from a report into a technology assessment of floating wind, reviewing in excess of 30 devices across various levels of technology readiness and providing a detailed appraisal of the three most established concepts.

The interim report highlights where these devices are on the technology and commercial readiness journey and identifies areas where ORE Catapult can support innovation and collaboration in the supply chain to help drive down industry costs.

Looking at the interaction of Technical Development, Deployment Volume and Cost Competitiveness, the interim report builds on previous research commissioned by The Crown Estate[1] to identify the key technical challenges facing the floating wind sector.

ORE Catapult will work with all major players in the floating wind sector over the coming months to analyse and develop the initial findings and will publish an authoritative market and technology assessment later in the year.

The report is being announced in advance of a new report from the Carbon Trust for the Scottish Government to be released on Wednesday. This will provide a comprehensive review of floating wind technologies to date, looking at the potential for cost reduction and the opportunity for Scotland in commercialising the technology.

The independent findings of both reports provide significant evidence of opportunities for cost reduction and innovation in this important future technology.

Andrew Jamieson, ORE Catapult’s Chief Executive, said:

“Recent advancements and trialling of offshore floating wind prototypes, backed by strong research, suggest there is scope for cost effective floating wind power sooner than many people may have previously thought. Such technologies would bring significant economic benefits to the UK including the application of manufacturing and skills from the oil and gas sector.

“The UK has the potential to become a global leader in floating wind technology development, helping to exploit vast global wind resources in deeper offshore sites and capturing significant social, economic and environmental benefits.

“Our report highlights the key areas where we can work with developers and the supply chain on technology development and standardisation to drive down industry costs and make floating wind viable.”

Commenting on the report, Adrian Fox from The Crown Estate, said:

“This report builds upon our previous work and deepens our understanding of the technical challenges facing offshore floating wind. This is essential to be able to maximise the potential of this emerging technology and ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the offshore wind industry as a whole.”

ORE Catapult and Floating Wind

Over the years, offshore wind farms have moved further from shore and into deeper water as developers look to exploit global offshore wind resources. The global potential market for floating foundation solutions is significant as there is a clear need to develop new technologies that meet the needs of deeper water sites, where bottom-fixed solutions are no longer commercially viable.

ORE Catapult has an ambition to leverage the UK’s expertise in offshore engineering and experience in fixed wind to capture the potential from this emerging global market. We are involved in the largest established Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) operating at a UK and European level.

The Interim Findings report is available here.

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