Foundation innovations beyond floating will unlock largescale offshore wind development

The acceleration of deep-water offshore wind development is being held back by a singular focus on floating wind, according to pioneering low carbon energy developer Enterprize Energy.
Foundation innovations beyond floating will unlock largescale offshore wind development

Innovative fixed-bottom or buoyant foundations provide an immediate route to large-scale, cost-effective deployment at many high resource sites. Recent analysis by the Carbon Trust indicated that development at deep water sites of more than 60 metres would boost European offshore wind capacity by 4 TW and US capacity by 2 TW. However, to unlock this capacity, turbines must be installed in areas with significant siting challenges – specifically, their foundations must overcome an uneven seabed and powerful tidal conditions.

One foundation design that has a core role in enabling deep water development is the Articulated Wind Column initiative led by ODE in partnership with AWC Tech Ltd - a buoyant, vertical structure with a fixed, iron-ore base. Articulated Wind Columns can be constructed at sites over 110 metres in depth with a compact footprint which allows for a greater number of turbines and more flexible placement than floating wind. Crucially, these designs can be constructed from materials that can be manufactured in regional hubs close to the site of the offshore wind project.

“Floating platform designs are lauded as the solution to deep-water challenges, with a number of exciting projects having demonstrated commercial viability at certain sites” said Ian Hatton, Chairman, Enterprize Energy. “However, the positioning of floating wind as the primary route to unlocking deep-water capacity at a global scale is stifling the development of regional production hubs and impacting the cost-effectiveness of potential projects. Innovative foundation designs beyond floating platforms must not be left out of the conversation. As an industry, we have to consider which technology will work best for the proposed site and the communities surrounding it. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel with each step we take towards cleaning up our energy supply – for example, articulated columns have more than four decades of proven use in the oil and gas industry. If we adopt and adapt tried and tested deep-water innovations such as this, the benefits to local manufacturing, levelised cost of energy, and investor risk will be enormous.”

Enterprize Energy is focused on developing energy generation systems that enable the rapid roll out of clean energy projects where wind resource is highest, including hybrid wind-hydrogen-ammonia offshore platforms and innovative Articulated Wind Column-based turbines.

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Enterprize Energy

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