The May 2013 update of Main(e) International Consulting report ‘Floating Offshore Wind Foundations: Industry Consortia and Projects in the United States, Europe and Japan’ is now available and can be downloaded at
The past 7 months since the September 2012 report update have been marked by multiple news releases and progress reports. The new version therefore includes many new images as well as updated information for the majority of projects and some new projects have also been added.
Floating foundations are getting increasing attention within and outside the wind industry. The future of offshore wind is ‘definitely afloat’, according to attendees of the HUSUM 2012 Wind Energy trade fair. A poll conducted by GL Garrad Hassan showed 62% of participants thinking that floating wind turbines will take the lead over conventional turbine foundations within the next 20 years, according to the official press release by Husum Wind. By contrast, only 38% said that conventional structures would not be replaced by new floating technologies within the next two decades.
In November 2012 the U.S. Department of Energy announced $168 million funding for initially 7 Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration projects. 3 of these 7 projects involve floating foundations and highlight the U.S. Government’s focus on this technology. Eventually only 3 of the 7 projects will receive funding to full installation but the floating projects have as good a chance to be part of this as any conventional foundation project.
In February 2013 Japan hosted the Tokyo Smart Energy Week Exhibition and Conference; this time with participation of the wind power industry, a first for this event. Attendance was good and also gave insight into Japan’s Fukushima Floating Offshore Demonstration Project as well as a new project by MODEC, scheduled for a pilot plant in Fall 2013. The first 2 Fukushima demonstrator installations of 1 floating substation and a 2MW semisubmersible are also scheduled for Fall 2013. In addition, this summer a consortium will install a full scale floating spar off Kabashima Island in Japan. These will be the world’s 3rd full scale floating offshore wind turbine, followed by 2 additional full scale structures and the world’s first floating substation. These projects send the message that Japan has moved into the ranks of the floating offshore leaders.
Europe also shows new momentum, especially UK and Scotland as well as Spain and France. In April 2013 Scotland unveiled a £15m plan for deep-water wind energy development. The Crown Estate plans to develop a floating offshore demonstration project in water depths of ca. 100 meters off Scotland’s west coast. The objective is to have commercially viable technology available by 2020. US technology developers also benefit from UK funding. Principle Power is receiving a development award from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. Glosten Associates’ PelaStar TLP has been selected by ETI for a front end engineering design study. Across the channel French developers such as Nass et Wind are moving forward with their full scale pilot plans. In Spain, Iberdrola together with Gamesa and Acciona are going ahead with their developments. All in all the year 2014 looks like it might become a boom year for various European full scale launches if projects stay on track. So whoever still likes to refer to floating offshore wind technology as ‘niche’ and a long way off may want to reconsider this statement.
The ongoing monitoring and the creation of this overview is solely funded by Main(e) International Consulting LLC and is available at no cost to the interested reader. The images and information on the different projects have been obtained from the official project websites or the media sources as listed. Summarized tables and background info have been compiled by Main(e) International Consulting LLC. Copyright of the floating projects overview table on page 6 belongs to Main(e) International Consulting LLC.
The purpose of this report is to present the growing number of floating foundation projects around the world and by doing so, to highlight the growing global demand and market place. It is not intended to evaluate or rank the various technologies. Therefore in most cases the actual description as well as the data as published by the developers has been used.
The presented technology developers offer different levels of information on their projects and this is the reason why there is not the same amount of information available for each design. In some cases media reports have been used to add information. Non-English language information, especially on the Japanese projects, has been translated and summarized.
Input and updates to the report are welcome and much appreciated.