Floating wind farms are currently an important theme in the renewable energy sector. Far out at sea, such farms offer a possibility of increasing the energy output. Jan Rispens, Managing Director of the Renewable Energy Cluster Hamburg (EEHH-Cluster), said: “For technical reasons, no foundations for offshore wind farms can be anchored in the seabed at depths of about 50 metres.” Thus, putting wind farms on a floating foundation makes sense, but implementing such a solution requires vast technical know-how.
Precursors from Norway and Portugal
Norway’s StatoilHydro is a pioneer of floating wind turbines, said EEHH. The company has been operating a wind farm in Norway’s Åmøy fjord near Stavanger since 2009. StatoilHydro aims to build a EUR 215 million floating wind farm with six wind turbines off the Scottish coast by 2017.
Meanwhile in Portugal, a consortium led by EDPR, will build the “WindFloat Atlantic Project“ for testing purposes by 2018. Other test facilities of varying sizes are already in place off the coast of Japan.
First floating wind farm in France
Senvion, a leading global manufacturer of wind turbines, has adapted its 6.2M152 wind turbine to the floating offshore foundation, according to a press release on July 25th. The French environment and energy management Agency (ADEME) has awarded EolMed to construct three to four Senvion 6.2M152 in the French Mediterranean Sea. This would be France’s first floating pilot wind farm which will be installed and commissioned in 2020. Senvion’s subsidiary, Senvion Deutschland, is based in Hamburg.
Generally-valid specifications to be agreed
A consortium of international firms in wind, oil and gas industries and the maritime sector recently formed a “Joint Industry Project” to develop new technical standards for floating wind farms. DNV GL, the world’s biggest adviser and certification services provider in the energy sector, is managing the project. The aim is to co-ordinate generally-valid specifications for production as well as technical inspection and analysis of floating wind farms.