FEED study into tension leg platform design completed

Paul Boughton

An engineering design study for the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) by The Glosten Associates, using its innovative tension leg floating platform (TLP) for Offshore Wind demonstrator has shown that UK offshore wind energy costs could fall to below £85/MWh by the mid-2020s, with further reductions possible as the technology matures.

The floating platform is designed to provide high-capacity factors in wind speeds exceeding 10m per second in water between 60 and 1,200m deep.

It is estimated that the UK has over a third of Europe’s potential offshore wind resource – enough to power the country nearly three times over. Developing solutions that enable this power to be affordably tapped will require significant technology developments and floating wind could be a solution.

The FEED study has shown that Glosten’s PelaStar TLP design could play a major role in reducing UK offshore wind energy costs. The TLP technology is suitable for water depths from as low as 55m (much lower than conventional TLP developed from oil and gas experience) up to several hundred metres.

William Hurley, Glosten’s project manager, said: “We completed a substantial amount of engineering, design and model testing, as well as project execution planning and installation engineering, and are pleased to find the results have validated our earlier work. It shows a highly promising opportunistic path for the industry to achieve and exceed cost targets for the end of the decade and beyond to make it a commercially attractive option. We are ready for a full-scale 6MW demonstration project.”
Andrew Scott, programme manager, Offshore Renewables at ETI added: “The study has shown the potential for targeted innovation to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy. This project has shown that, by 2030, offshore wind could be delivering energy at costs similar to the lowest cost forms of low carbon generation. This project has already validated our earlier research into offshore wind which showed that that access to high wind areas which are reasonably close to shore will result in very competitive energy costs”.