Floating turbine test centre planned for Norway

NORWAY: The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy is looking to establish a floating turbine test centre off the west coast of Norway.

Fraunhofer had previously worked on the Hiprwind floating platform

The approval process is still ongoing so details of the project are unavailable but consent is expected to follow.

Jochen Bard, head of energy converters and storage systems at Fraunhofer said, "In a couple of weeks we will have all the approvals we need and then we will make it public.

"The idea here is not to actually have a cable and a dedicated area where people can come a test their floating wind turbines. The purpose is rather to have an actual floating wind turbine for research purposes and that will be available for the research community as well as the industry."

Bard said a supplier of the platform had been selected but was unable to give more details.

Regional newspaper Adressavisen reported there were plans for a floating test centre near Bjugn.

"The timing is a little unfortunate. The reason it was mentioned on the Norwegian [press] is that they are looking for a site and [conducting] site investigations there. Of course they have to talk to the local people and it has to be made public that something is planned there," Bard said.

Fraunhofer is involved in the EU-funded Floatgen 2MW demonstrator project in France, using a concrete floating platform supplied by Ideol and a Gamesa turbine.

The research institute was also taking the lead on the Spanish 3MW Hiprwind project, which is now on hold.

Bard said the future for floating turbines looks bright as projects move into deeper waters. "We found that in deep water across Europe we have a very substantial resource.

"I strongly believe in the future of floating wind, maybe not in the next three years or five years but as a research organization we still think it is time to develop these technologies to make them available to the market in the coming years," he said.