Increased interest in offshore wind power is driving the development of new technologies, especially for offshore wind turbine foundations that sometimes represent as much as 40% of the investment costs, finds a new study by Frost & Sullivan.
According to the study, the future of the offshore wind industry will depend on novel developments in foundation solutions for water depths of 30 to 60 meters over the medium term and, and for depths of more than 60 meters over the long term. Currently, the most attractive alternative for widely used monopiles are jacket foundations that can be used in water depths between 30 and 60 meters.
For the longer term, and for far-offshore wind projects, the most probable solution appears to be floating foundations, according to Frost & Sullivan's analysis.
‘Frost & Sullivan research shows that the jacket foundation is in an 'almost commercial' phase of development, while the floating foundation still requires a few more years of research,’ says Frost & Sullivan technical insights research analyst Tomasz Kaminski. ‘Currently, only one prototype of wind turbine carried by a floating foundation is in operation.’
‘To boost offshore wind technology, developers should focus on lowering foundation costs,’ Kaminski advises. ‘Turbine operation costs can be decreased by introducing direct-drive, gearless generators that are more reliable than asynchronous generators.’