Floating offshore wind technical challenges under the microscope

A report issued by the Carbon Trust Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (JIP) provides the findings of the group’s study on the technical opportunities and challenges for the floating offshore wind sector as it moves toward commercial-scale farms.

The report’s authors expect the global floating offshore wind industry to grow from the current 74MW to 126MW by the end of 2021.

While floating wind farms make possible new opportunities, such as in very deep waters that are not suitable for bottom-fixed installations, they come with challenges: conventional jack-up vessels are not a viable option in deep water and the relative motion of the turbine versus the maintenance vessel is a key risk; for towing to port, better solutions are needed to safely disconnect and store all the connections; and mooring in both very deep and very shallow waters involves challenges.

The report summarises solutions that have emerged through both projects and a technological competition managed by the Carbon Trust and the Floating Wind JIP.

“A series of pilot arrays and demonstration projects have helped to prove the technical feasibility of floating offshore wind,” said Sam Strivens, Programme Manager, Floating Offshore Wind at the Carbon Trust. “Several national governments have announced dedicated leasing and support for pre- and early commercial floating offshore wind deployment. The main challenge for the industry now is a commercial one.”

Members of the Floating Wind JIP are BP, EDF Renouvelables, EnBW, Equinor, Kyuden Mirai Energy, Ocean Winds, Ørsted, Parkwind, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, SSE Renewables, TEPCO, Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., TotalEnergies, Vattenfall, and Wpd.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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