The offshore wind market is a young and rapidly growing market, whose current project pipeline for 2025/30 would equal nearly 80 nuclear plants, mostly in Europe. The next decade and beyond may average 1,000 offshore towers/year worldwide, with an overall investment volume around 15-20.000 M€/year.
This growing sector faces technological challenges, as it is set to move into deeper waters further offshore while being able to reduce the costs in order to reach a competitive LCOE (levelised cost of energy). For water depths above 40m (70% of the future market) approximately 40-50% of investment corresponds to the substructure (foundation and tower). Therefore a significant cost reduction in foundation/tower would drastically improve the overall cost of offshore wind energy.
This project intends to develop and demonstrate in operative environment a full scale prototype of a revolutionary substructure system for offshore wind turbines. The concept consists in a self-installing precast concrete telescopic tower which for the first time ever shall allow for crane-free offshore installation of foundations, towers and turbines, thus overcoming the constraints imposed by the dependence on offshore heavy-lift vessels. It will allow for a full in-shore preassembly of the complete system, which is key to generate a highly industrialized manufacturing process with high production rates and optimized risk control. The main benefits expected are:
• 30-40% cost reduction (both CAPEX and OPEX).
• Large water depth applicability range for deep offshore (>45m water depth).
• Supports increased turbine size (5-8MW).
• Allows for large scale fast industrial deployment of foundations.
• Reduces dependence on costly and scarce installation vessels.
• Improved asset integrity (durability)
This solution will imply a radical step forward for cost-effective and industrially deployable deep offshore wind.
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