The acceleration of deepwater offshore wind development is being held back by a singular focus on floating wind, while innovative fixed-bottom or buoyant foundations provide an immediate route to large-scale, cost-effective deployment at many high resource sites, Enterprize Energy said in its latest press release.
The company, which is behind one of the largest offshore wind projects in Vietnam, said that using novel fixed-bottom foundations would benefit the projects in many aspects, including local manufacturing, levelized cost of energy (LCOE), and investor risk.
The sector’s focus on using floating wind technology to unlock the far offshore sites in water depths of over 60 metres is holding it back from tapping into solutions beyond floating foundations, according to the offshore wind developer.
“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”.
Enterprize Energy pointed to the Articulated Wind Column foundation design, developed within an initiative led by ODE in partnership with AWC Tech, saying that this design had a core role in enabling deepwater development. The foundation is a buoyant, vertical structure with a fixed, iron-ore base and can be installed in water depths of over 110 metres. The design has a compact footprint which allows for a greater number of turbines and more flexible placement than floating wind, Enterprize Energy said.
Furthermore, these foundations can be constructed from materials that can be manufactured in regional hubs close to the sites of the offshore wind projects.
Besides the 3.4 GW Thang Long offshore wind farm in Vietnam, Enterprize Energy is developing the Hai Long offshore wind farm in Taiwan, as well as a hybrid offshore wind-hydrogen-ammonia offshore platforms in cooperation with Tractebel.
The company said that it was focused on developing energy generation systems that enable the rapid roll out of clean energy projects where wind resource is highest, including Articulated Wind Column-based turbines.
“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”, Ian Hutton said.
“If we adopt and adapt tried and tested deep-water innovations such as this, the benefits to local manufacturing, levelized cost of energy, and investor risk will be enormous”.