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Floating Offshore Wind Support Platform and Assembly Solution

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FLOWSPA (Floating Offshore Wind Support Platform and Assembly Solution)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-09-30

Europe has the potential to tap into an exceptional renewable energy resource from as yet unexploited offshore wind at deeper water sites away from the shallow basin of the North Sea. The challenge is to find an economically attractive solution for deploying floating wind turbines that is competitive with other forms of low emission electricity generation.

The current high cost of floating wind is a barrier to the exploitation of deeper water wind farm sites. The reason that floating wind costs are high is that the current solutions being offered are physically very large in order to achieve sufficient platform stability to support large capacity turbines. These large platforms dictate the need for specialist construction docks and assembly facilities which adds to their cost and limits the number of sites where units can be built, launched and assembled. The industry therefore needs a solution that is physically more compact so that it can be built using existing ship or offshore construction facilities which will help regenerate a declining marine industry.

Project FLOWSPA’s overall objective was to assess the feasibility of an innovative floating structure “Starfloat” for supporting the largest sizes of horizontal axis wind turbines.
The project assessed the technical compliance of the novel patented solution for supporting large capacity turbines. The “Starfloat” solution achieves a stable platform by combining a “centre spar” with a “multifloat” floatation collar, the innovative design being given the classification “multifloat-spar”.

The work included a detailed analysis of the motions, strength, fatigue life and survivability of the “Starfloat” platform. All aspects of the concept, i.e. fabrication, assembly, deployment, operation and decommissioning, were addressed to ensure that they are technically low risk and that “Starfloat” can provide an economically attractive solution for exploiting deep water wind resources.

The feasibility study included an economic analysis of a farm of 100 x 6MW turbines to demonstrate that the “Starfloat” solution can deliver a Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) that is lower than competing technologies.
The study confirmed the superior economics of the “Starfloat” solution over competing floating wind technologies. It also demonstrates that the technology is competitive with current fixed foundation wind farms, thus changing the dynamics of the offshore wind market by opening up the huge resource of deeper water sites.
Image of Starfloat 6MW unit
Image of Starfloat wind farm
Model 1-36th scale of 6MW Starfloat