Welsh Port Readying for Floating Wind by Simulating In-Port Manoeuvring Ops
With 4 GW of floating wind capacity to soon be awarded in the Celtic Sea, and more planned to come after that, ports in the UK are preparing to accommodate the construction and maintenance operations for the emerging industry. At Pembroke Port, a project simulating the processes of manoeuvring floating wind turbines into and out of the port is now underway.
The project is a collaboration between the Port of Milford Haven, the owner and operator of Pembroke Port, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, and Tugdock Limited, and aims to get a detailed understanding of the sequence of events that need to take place to successfully complete turbine recovery and deployment. This will, in turn, help steer future planning for the port.
“This pioneering project is breaking new ground and will yield vital information that can help guide the investment and development strategy for Pembroke Port. This is the kind of innovative thinking that is needed in this fast-growing industry”, said Simon Cheeseman of ORE Catapult.
At a later stage of the project, Tugdock’s technology will come into focus, according to the company, which said additional simulations would be performed to assess how its floating dry dock could be used to increase capability in these processes.
“Tugdock’s technology has been designed to help ports play a bigger role in floating offshore wind turbine assembly. It allows floating dry docks to be delivered by road in modular form and assembled at the port to dimensions far wider than most of the world’s existing dry docks. This technology can greatly increase the capacity of docks such as Pembroke Port. The floating platform is then towed to deeper water for launching of the turbines”, said Lucas Lowe-Houghton, the company’s Director of Business Development.
This year, The Crown Estate will open a seabed leasing round for up to 4 GW of floating offshore wind capacity to be deployed by 2035, with the region estimated to have the potential to accommodate up to 24 GW by 2045.
Offshore wind developers with plans to bid in the Celtic Sea leasing round are already eyeing ports to realise their potential projects. In this regard, Pembroke Port is of interest to RWE, which last year partnered with Associated British Ports (ABP) and the Port of Milford Haven to investigate the scaling-up of port facilities in support of a pipeline of gigawatt-scale floating wind projects offshore Wales.
Several months later, RWE hired MPS to develop a project plan for delivering up to 1 GW of floating wind using the Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port Talbot and Pembroke Dock for foundation and turbine assembly.
Pembroke Port is set to undergo a GBP 60 million upgrade that will see its infrastructure being adapted to accommodate the growing number of renewables developers who are seeking to base themselves there due to its proximity to the Celtic Sea, according to the simulation project partner Tugdock.
Since Pembroke Port will be able to support the assembly and integration of floating wind turbines, once the necessary infrastructure upgrades are completed, the port is also being supported by the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE), ORE Catapult’s hub for advancing the Welsh offshore renewable energy sector which carries out research to help drive innovation in the supply chain.
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