New trend: floating wind turbines
Senvion experts, Jörg Philp, Vice President Offshore, and Dr Fabian Vorpahl, Leading Expert Offshore & Loads, presented a talk entitled “Global floating foundation market from a turbine manufacturer’s perspective”.
They believe that this technology alone has great potential, as 80% of the world’s population live within 50 kilometres of a coast. In addition, 80% of regions with strong winds are located at sea in deep waters. Jörg Philp began with good news: “The European wind industry is currently leading the field when it comes to floating wind turbines. Many projects are also under way in Japan.” He said that initial computing methods for this new form of foundation solution at sea have shown that only marginal adjustments to the turbine are necessary for different design concepts. Initial test projects in Scotland, France, Norway, Portugal and Japan were successfully accomplished. Other markets in Asia and in the USA are envisaged in the future. Even if the planned capacity remains at 15 GW, floating platforms could achieve a market share of up to 20% by 2030 in Europe.
From the turbine manufacturer’s perspective, installation costs could be reduced by up to 70%, dependency on weather risks would be significantly lower and ultimately service costs would be cut. Dr Vorpahl admitted that the replacement of components while the system is operational remains an unsolved problem. In addition, the floating technology is still two to three times more expensive than land-based plants. Cost reductions in the industry will however also have an impact on this technology.