UK: Industry Focuses on Foundation Costs
The sub area selected by the senior executives with most potential for cost reduction was foundations, with almost twice as many responses as the next closest.
Foundations make up 19% of an offshore wind power plant’s LCOE according to Lindoe Offshore Renewables Center [LORC]. Foundation cost reduction, and the cost of the logistics to their installation, constitute a very relevant means of further lowering the LCOE of offshore wind projects.
Partnerships and integration key to success
For offshore wind to remain relevant, installation and operational costs must reduce. A significant reason that foundations should be the first area of cost consideration is that they are required not only for the turbines, but also for each structure in the power plant. Sub stations, met masts and accommodation quarters are also areas for potential cost savings. Tom Evans, Managing Director at Wind Energy Update says, “The offshore wind industry faces a Catch 22 scenario …a desire to innovate and see new solutions brought to market, but realistic investors need proven track records and low risk from service providers. Simply due to the volume of foundations used on projects, an opportunity is present to dedicate a sample section of new builds to testing, and should the tests prove conclusive, the option to roll out at scale is possible.”
GBF, Keystone Engineering, SPT Offshore and Universal Foundation are four foundation specialists who won the recent OWA Foundation competition. This competition was run in partnership with operators DONG Energy, E.ON, Mainstream Renewable Power, RWE Innogy, Scottish Power Renewables, SSE Renewables, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall. Partnerships of this nature are crucial to unlocking efficiency gains through technological and operational innovation.
Market opportunities, cost-reduction strategies and commercial viability
The Offshore Wind Foundations Report, published March 2013 is based on over 12,000 pieces of data, company case studies and industry interviews, 1270+ survey responses, proprietary and secondary material, this report provides a comprehensive techno-economic assessment of the global foundations portfolio (pre-commercial and commercial options) and the key industry insights, market-by-market sizing, forecasts and technology configurations essential to constructing a best positioned to optimize commercial opportunities in this growing but increasingly competitive sector.
Press release, March 26, 2013; Image: mth