Floating offshore wind is facing “significant technical challenges” to achieve large-scale deployment, according to a new report.
The Carbon Trust Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (JIP) study found heavy-lift maintenance as one key bottleneck as there are few vessels equipped to traverse the deeper waters and motion of floating units.
The report also identifies challenges with safe detachment and wet storage of cables under the alternative O&M solution that would see units towed to port.
“It was determined that, at this stage, the technologies to help overcome these challenges are best suited for semi-sub substructures, as other substructure types were thought to have stability issues during towing and may require further innovation to be commercially viable,” stated the report.
Meanwhile, further innovations in moorings for challenging environments are needed to help reduce costs.
The Carbon Trust also says wider innovation from the supply chain and developers will be required to deal with the challenges.
“Both operational projects, and projects under development, will be key to providing learnings to increase understanding of these assets and to de-risk future commercial-scale projects,” stated the report.
“Many of these technical challenges are common to multiple floating wind projects, making them suitable for industry-led collaborative research and development.”
The report also shows that global floating offshore wind industry is expected to grow from 74MW to 126MW by the end of 2021, despite covid-related challenges.
The Phase 3 Summary report outlines these challenges and summarises the solutions that have emerged as part of the projects delivered within Phase 3 and a technological competition managed by the Carbon Trust and the Floating Wind JIP.
Sam Strivens, programme manager for floating offshore wind at the Carbon Trust, added: “A series of pilot arrays and demonstration projects have helped to prove the technical feasibility of floating offshore wind.
“Several national governments have announced dedicated leasing and support for pre- and early commercial floating offshore wind deployment. The main challenge for the industry now is a commercial one.”