EMEC Wraps Up Concept Design for 100 MW Floating Offshore Wind Test Facility

European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has concluded concept design for a new 100 MW floating offshore wind test and demonstration site offshore Scotland.

Located 20 kilometres west of Orkney and further out to sea from its existing wave energy test facility at Billia Croo, EMEC’s proposed test site will comprise six berths for floating offshore wind turbines of up to 20 MW rated capacity.

Illustration of floating offshore wind turbines, prior to deployment offshore.
Image courtesy of Blackfish Engineering, demonstrating innovative C-Dart and Tugdock solution for moving floaters and turbines from quay to marshalling area before being transported to offshore site.

With water depths of 80-95 metres, large waves, and a windspeed of 10.7 m/s, the site could offer floating wind developers representative metocean conditions to those in ScotWind, Celtic Seas, and future leasing rounds.

Four of the six berths will be grid-connected while the final two will be reserved for alternative applications such as hydrogen generation.

The site setup and configuration has been adjusted to coincide with the sector’s existing and future requirements, EMEC said, with more than 25 GW of floating wind due to be deployed in UK waters over the next 20 years.

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The site was specifically designed for floating wind developers to de-risk their technologies, putting turbines, floating structures, mooring, and other components to the test. This could enable performance to be refined on a wide range of floating wind technologies before commercial scale-up and build-out.

“Floating wind is still in relative infancy with limited experience globally of deploying and operating technologies in high energy conditions. EMEC’s new demonstration site will provide developers with a highly comparable testing ground to proposed project locations prior to large-scale roll out”, said Neil Kermode, Managing Director at EMEC.

EMEC will provide the site management, technical, and supply-chain link-up support required to allow developers to focus on developing ad demonstrating their technologies, according to the press release.

“This testing will enable companies to de-risk projects helping to satisfy technical due diligence requirements and make financing easier and cheaper”, said Kermode.

The test site will also use Scapa Flow and plans to become an offshore wind hub supporting future job creation and supply chain development.

In August, Crown Estate Scotland announced that there will be three more floating offshore wind projects offered for the ScotWind seabed leasing round which will focus on green hydrogen.

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The projects offered agreements through the ScotWind round now include 20 developments that total up to 27.6 GW in capacity, with floating wind projects accounting for 17,871 MW.

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Photo: Illustration of floating offshore wind turbines, prior to deployment offshore. Image courtesy of Blackfish Engineering, demonstrating innovative C-Dart and Tugdock solution for moving floaters and turbines from quay to marshalling area before being transported to offshore site.