Equinor Designs Gigawatt-Scale Floating Wind Concept


Equinor has designed a new floating wind concept that will enable industrial standardization and maximize opportunities for local supply chains.

The energy company has now revealed its preferred floating wind foundation design for full-scale gigawatt commercial floating offshore wind, if successful, in ScotWind. The Wind Semi, a semisubmersible wind turbine foundation, has been designed with flexibility, specifically to allow for fabrication and assembly based on local supply chain capabilities.

“We are ready to develop the next-generation, large-scale commercial floating offshore wind in Scotland,” says Sonja C. Indrebø, Equinor’s vice president of floating offshore wind. “By leveraging our 20 years of floating offshore wind experience and innovations, we plan to develop GW-size floating projects in one single phase.”

“Implementing large scale projects will accelerate Scotland’s energy transition to net zero,” adds Indrebø. “At 1 GW, this project would be over 30 times bigger than Hywind Scotland, the UK’s and Equinor’s first floating project and have the potential to not only position Scotland as a leader in deep water technology, but also create opportunities for both existing suppliers and new entrants to the offshore wind sector.”

To ensure that the technology can be deployed cost effectively whilst maximizing local benefits, Equinor has developed a set of design principles and solutions that are applicable across floating concepts.

Equinor installed the first floating offshore wind turbine in 2009, and operates Hywind Scotland (30 MW), the world’s first floating wind farm.

“Hywind Scotland proved that the floating concept works, and as we move to the next generation floating offshore wind projects, we need to demonstrate that floating offshore wind is deployable at scale, in different geographies cost effectively whilst bringing local benefits,” continues Indrebø. “We have seen the journey of fixed bottom offshore wind, and combined with our long experience in floating, we can take learnings into account as we design and innovate the concepts for full-scale GW floating wind farms.”

The Wind Semi has several features making it particularly suited for harsh waters, and solutions that can maximize the opportunities for the Scottish supply chain. 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 needed. A flat-plate design that is free from bracings, heave plates and complicated nodes that are prone to fatigue cracking. With a harbor draught of less than 10 meters, the Wind Semi’s turbine integration can be assembled at most industrialized ports. The Wind Semi’s simpler flat plate design enables the substructure to be built in blocks that can either be fabricated locally and/or shipped from other locations.

Equinor will select the best suited floating wind concept for its projects. Water depths, conditions around shipyards and ports, and the specializations and capacity of the local supply chain are primary drivers for selecting a given design.

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