OWE 2017: Conference hails 'year of the floater'

UK: Alain Delsupehxe, CEO of French engineering firm Eolfi, said that "2017 has been the year of lift-off for floating" technology during a seminar at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event in London on 6 June.

Hywind Scotland turbines are being prepared in Norway before being transported to the site for the 30MW floating project

"There are at least ten pilot projects in construction, but, more interestingly, investors are entering the floating arena. I wouldn’t have been able to say that even six months ago," Delsupehxe said.

His remarks were backed up by Bent Christensen, senior vice-president at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. "There are about 200 jacket foundations in European waters, but they are nearly all different designs," he said.

"All bottom-fixed foundations have to be different to cope with different water depths, seabed conditions and wave heights. But floaters can all be the same design, allowing much greater standardisation and harmonisation," said Christensen.

Delsupehxe also pointed to the ease with which turbine life can be extended from the use of floating foundations.

"You can tow them to the yard for a half-life overhaul at, say 15 years," he said. "Floating has the advantage over bottom-fixed foundation in terms of both Capex and Opex."