Norwegian Joint Venture Sets Sight on Mass Producing Floating Wind Foundations

Norway’s Odfjell Oceanwind and its compatriot Prodtex have set up a joint venture, named Windsteel Technologies, to establish the production capacity necessary to meet the need for hundreds of floating wind foundations per year in Europe. The joint venture is planning to have its first facility operational by 2027.

According to Odfjel Oceanwind, the joint venture was established to address what is expected to become one of the biggest bottlenecks in scaling the floating offshore wind industry: low-cost and high-capacity manufacturing of foundations for floating wind turbines.

“If floating offshore wind shall become a relevant source of energy in the future, we need to dramatically reduce the costs, but also increase the scale. And we need to do this without sacrificing quality. These offshore structures for wind turbines of 15MW and larger shall be able to withstand extreme loads for more than 30 years without having to be towed back for repairs. Failures based on poor quality welds or surface treatment are simply not acceptable,” said Per Lund, CEO of Odfjell Oceanwind and chairman of Windsteel Technologies.

Windsteel Technologies will act as a hub for delivering the foundations to the market and work in close collaboration with specialist companies from the local and international supply chain. The first partners are already in place and more will be added in the coming months and years, preparing for what is expected to become a multi-billion-euro market at the end of this decade, said Odfjell Oceanwind.

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According to the company, Windsteel Technologies will require an approach to industrial production that is different from what exists in the existing supply chain and will therefore require a mindset from automotive and aerospace manufacturing rather than traditional shipbuilding and offshore yards.

“Production of floating wind foundations of the size and scale needed to develop gigawatt floating wind parks will require factories, and not yards like we are used to see from the oil and gas and ship building industries. These factories will be highly specialised with production and assembly lines that are customised to produce foundation designs with relatively similar structural components. Very much like we see in car or aeroplane factories,” said Lund.

Odfjell Oceanwind said the factories will be located strategically in close vicinity to the markets that are expected to develop the first foundations for floating offshore wind, including the North Sea basin which is likely to see the first large-scale floating offshore wind farms at the end of the decade.

The goal is to have the first facility in operation in time for deploying the first Deepsea Star floating wind foundations to the GoliatVIND demonstration project in Norway in 2027, said the company. Deepsea Star foundations are designed to support wind turbines with a capacity of 15 MW and more.

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The capacity from the same facility has been reserved by the 500-750 MW UtsiraVIND project which is competing for a seabed lease in the ongoing Norwegian Utsira Nord competition. This reservation is subject to a successful outcome of the competition. 


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