First Floating OSS Expected by 2030, But There Are Still Some Challenges, Semco Maritime Says
Semco Maritime is expecting the first floating offshore substation to happen by 2030, however, there are still some challenges to overcome before this becomes a reality, according to Jacob Øbo Sørensen, Senior Vice President for Renewables at the Danish company.
Semco Maritime, together with ISC Consulting Engineers, Aalborg University, Energy Cluster Denmark, and Inocean, secured funding earlier this year to further develop a floating offshore substation (FOSS) concept.
Before we get the first unit, there are multiple challenges that have to be addressed which can be split between a technological perspective and a financial perspective, depending on the location, Sørensen told offshoreWIND.biz.
First of all, there are no official standards for floating offshore substations, which means that the design will have to be based on already existing standards for vessels, fixed-bottom OSSs, FPSOs, and floating turbines.
Next, there is a need of developing dynamic cables for higher voltage levels and it is also important that harbors are ready to support this technology.
It would also be recommended that governments set out a price support mechanism for floating wind since new technology is more expensive and people will compare it to fixed bottom.
At the end of the day, it is important that people do not see floating wind as a competitor to fixed bottom – both technologies are offshore wind and a necessity to reach renewable energy targets, Sørensen stated.
“In Semco Maritime, we are busy developing and maturing our design proposal for a floating substation. Thanks to the received governmental funding in Denmark we can speed up our design progress and focus on more challenging topics such as the transport and installation philosophy and the interfaces between floater and topside and how they impact the electrical design,” Sørensen said.
In terms of benefits, it is already familiar that 80 per cent of the global offshore wind potential is located in deep water and floating wind is therefore a necessity as it unlocks many new markets around the world that due to deep waters could not install offshore wind before.
Considering sustainability, it seems that floating wind does not have an impact on biodiversity, Sørensen said, adding that the newest study from Equinor presented how biodiversity stayed the same at the Hywind Scotland floating wind project.
In June last year, DNV and 30 industry partners launched a Joint Industry Project (JIP) aimed at improving technology development for floating offshore wind substations.
The objective is to align industry best-practice allowing for accelerated technology development and to close gaps in available substation standards enabling scaling of floating offshore wind with an acceptable level of commercial, technical, health, safety, and environmental risks.
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