A £4m (€4.7m) project to design a floating offshore wind demonstration project off the Cornish coast has been confirmed by the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). Glosten Associates has been chosen to develop a detailed plan for the deployment of its PelaStar floating platform technology in UK waters.
The ETI plans to review the plan in about a year's time, when it will decide whether to proceed with an eight-to-ten year demonstration project. If a demonstration goes ahead it will feature a single PelaStar floating platform mounted with an Alstom 6MW Haliade turbine. Belfast-based fabricator, Harland & Wolff, will build the platform. Wave Hub will manage installation of the platform and turbine in waters off Cornwall.
The ETI has earmarked £25m for a floating offshore wind demonstration project, with £4m for use during this newly announced design phase. This leaves £21m for construction, installation and operation. The floating platform and turbine could be in place off Cornwall as early as 2015, says the ETI.
Commenting on Glosten’s success in winning ETI funds to develop its PelaStar technology, director Bill Hurley said: "We applaud the ETI for taking this bold, confident step to accelerate the development of floating offshore wind. Deep-water wind resources promise the potential of lower costs for energy and are waiting to be captured".
The chief challenge facing the nascent floating offshore wind industry is cost reduction, with developers such as Statoil and Principle Power seeking to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of their platform designs. The world’s largest planned floating demonstration project is Forward, off Japan’sFukushima coast.
Leading wind energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan believes the business case for floating offshore wind is improving.