New offshore wind farms designed for deeper water
Work has begun on a research and development project to support the installation of offshore wind farms in areas of the UK where the water depth has previously made it infeasible.
An alliance between ScottishPower owner Iberdrola, the University of Strathclyde and Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult sees the commencement of the 'TLDWIND' initiative with a budget allocation of more than €1m provided by Innovate UK.
Iberdrola will use the funding to design a floating wind turbine model whose foundations will be secured to the ocean floor using tension cables. This will almost entirely restrict its movement in water depths of between 60 and 100 metres.
Strathclyde University will lend the use of its hydrodynamic testing tank facilities which will be of key importance in ensuring the success of the project.
With the aim of cutting costs, the installation operations will be carried out on land and transferred out to sea, meaning the specialised vessels used for construction will not have to be in use for as long. Additionally, the dimensions and weight of the steel used in these platforms will be optimised to bring down construction costs.
Iberdrola believes the project will create a 'highly reliable model for offshore wind farms' that will 'drastically shorten installation times and cut costs'. Both of these aspects are crucial to the future of offshore wind power, the firm said.
"This initiative is further proof of the Iberdrola Group's commitment to offshore wind energy, a sector in which it is developing major projects to build new facilities - mostly in the UK, Germany and France - and working on enhancing its technology by carrying out R&D studies," added the company.
The project follows a recent report by GlobalData in September that the global offshore wind energy market is expected to increase more than fivefold by 2020.