MARCH 25, 2013 — A U.K. public-private partnership, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), has selected Seattle based naval architecture and marine engineering firm The Glosten Associates to design an offshore wind floating platform system demonstrator.
Glosten will design a tension leg platform (TLP) by developing a Front End Engineering Design Study (FEED.)
The PelaStar TLP prototype will be developed in partnership with Alstom using its Haliade 150-6 MW offshore wind turbine. Harland and Wolff in Belfast has been chosen by Glosten as the builders for the demonstrator and the TLP will be designed for potential deployment at the ETI's preferred test-site - Wave Hub in Cornwall.
Wave Hub, which is a grid-connected offshore energy test facility 10 miles off the north coast of Cornwall, could host the project as early as 2015. The demonstrator would remain in place for between eight and 10 years, to allow further design modifications and refinements to take place.
The ETI commissioned and funded FEED study will take about 12 months to complete and cost £4 million. The ETI will then decide whether to invest up to £21 million in the construction and deployment of the TLP.
Studies by ETI —a public-private partnership between BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce, Shell and the U.K. Government — have shown that floating wind farms in areas of increased higher wind speeds off the coast of Southwest England and Northwest and Northeast Scotland, in water depths of 60 m to 100 m, have the potential to significantly reduce offshore energy cost.
"Our modeling work and previous engineering design projects have shown that floating offshore wind farms could play a key role in providing affordable, secure and sustainable energy for the UK as part of a broader and balanced energy system," said Andrew Scott, Program Manager, Offshore Wind at ETI. "The ability of large floating turbines to access near-to-shore, high wind speed sites off the coast of the U.K. could bring down the cost of electricity generation for the long term, helping to ensure that low carbon energy from offshore wind achieves costs comparable with other forms of low carbon generation.
"Deep water wind resources promise the potential of lower costs for energy and are waiting to be captured," said Glosten's PelaStar Director, Bill Hurley. "Today the industry needs support of this nature to demonstrate the technology that will get us out there."
Daniel Castell, Alstom's Offshore Wind Product Director, added:
The ETI's research in offshore wind has demonstrated that access to high wind areas which are close to shore should be an attractive investment compared to some existing U.K. sites which are further from the coast in areas of lower wind. The ETI aims to reduce the costs of offshore wind energy generation by accelerating the deployment of floating wind farms in U.K. waters. The UK has over a third of the total European potential offshore wind resource – enough to power the country nearly three times over. Exploiting this natural resource economically, particularly in deeper waters off the west of the country, will require significant technology developments to build, operate and support large offshore wind arrays.