Norwegian energy giant Equinor has revealed its preferred floating wind foundation design for large-scale gigawatt (GW) commercial floating offshore wind in Scotland, if successful in the ScotWind rental round in Scotland.
Equinor said the “Wind Semi”, a semi-submersible wind turbine foundation, was designed with flexibility, specifically to allow fabrication and assembly to suit the capabilities of the local supply chain.
“We are poised to develop the next generation of large scale commercial floating offshore wind in Scotland. Leveraging our twenty years of experience and innovations in floating offshore wind, we plan to develop GW-sized floating projects in a single phase.
The implementation of large-scale projects will accelerate Scotland’s energy transition to net zero. At 1 GW, this project would be over 30 times the size of Hywind Scotland, the UK and Equinor’s first floating project, and would have the potential not only to position Scotland as a leader in water technology deep, but also to create opportunities for existing suppliers and new entrants in the offshore wind sector, ”said Sonja C. Indrebø, Vice President of Floating Offshore Wind at Equinor.
Equinor installed the very first floating offshore wind turbine in 2009 and operates Hywind Scotland (30 MW), the world’s first floating wind farm.
“Since starting production in 2017, Hywind Scotland has consistently achieved a higher capacity factor than other UK wind farms, demonstrating the true potential of floating offshore wind,” said Equinor.
“Hywind Scotland has proven that the floating concept works, and as we move to the next generation of floating offshore wind projects, we need to demonstrate that floating offshore wind is deployable on a large scale, in different geographies in a cost effective manner while at the same time bringing local benefits. We have seen the journey of fixed-bottom offshore wind turbines and, combined with our long experience in the field of floating, we can take the learnings into account when we design and innovate the concepts of large-scale GW floating wind farms ”, explains Indrebø.
The semi of the wind
According to Equinor, the Wind Semi has several features that make it particularly suitable for rough waters, and solutions that can maximize opportunities for the Scottish supply chain.
These include, according to Equinor:
Increased reliability: By introducing a passive ballast system, the Wind Semi has a simple substructure design, reducing the risk of system failure and the amount of maintenance required
Simpler and more robust design: A flat plate design that is free from bracing, uplift plates and complicated knots prone to fatigue cracking
Supply chain flexibility: With a draft of less than 10 m, the integration of the Wind Semi turbine can be assembled in most industrialized ports. The Wind Semi’s simpler flat plate design allows the substructure to be built into blocks that can be fabricated locally and / or shipped from other locations.
“Scotland can be at the forefront of this exciting technology. We asked ourselves how to achieve industrial standardization and maximize local content opportunities to create additional and long-term sustainable value from floating offshore wind projects. With a design-based approach, we used our experience and got back to basics to incorporate this goal into the initial concept design, ”says Indrebø.