Offshore Wind

Strategic Context

The UK has Europe’s biggest offshore wind resource which could make a major contribution to meeting the UK’s electricity demand.

However the harsh operating conditions and logistics of installing, running and maintaining machines far from shore provide significant engineering challenges.

Cost, reliability and maintenance are paramount to accelerating the offshore wind market further and the ETI has commissioned projects in all three areas.

The ETI focus is on achieving significant cost reductions and enhanced reliability for offshore wind.

Programme Aim

  • Increase deployment to 18 GW by 2020 and towards 50GW by 2050.
  • Reduce electricity costs to be competitive with onshore wind by 2020 and with conventional generation by 2050.
  • Increased yields: annual farm availability to be increased to 97%-98% or better, equivalent to onshore wind today by 2020.
  • Reduce technical uncertainties to allow farms to be financed in a manner, and at costs, equivalent to onshore wind today.

Project summaries

Please click the following projects below for detail:

Floating Platform System Demonstrator

Project summary lead image Floating Platform System Demonstrator

ETI Investment

£4 million

Date announced

March 2013

Project Partners

  • Alstom
  • Harland and Wolff
  • The Glosten Associates
  • Wave Hub

Overview

This project involves a Front End Engineering Design Study undertaken by The Glosten Associates to develop a tension leg platform (TLP) concept to further develop floating platform technology.

Our previous work in this area has shown that floating wind farms located in areas of increased wind speeds off the coast of South West England and North West & North East Scotland in water depths of 60-100m, have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of offshore energy generation.

Glostens Pelastar TLP prototype will be developed in this project in partnership with Alstom using their Haliade 150-6MW offshore wind turbine.

At the end of the design study phase a decision will be taken on whether or not to construct the TLP and deploy it at our preferred test-site - Wave Hub in Cornwall.

Larger Blades

Project summary lead image Larger Blades

ETI Investment

£15.5 million

Date announced

January 2013

Project Partners

  • Blade Dynamics

Overview

This project is to develop and demonstrate the technologies required for constructing what are expected to be the world's longest wind turbine blades ever built.

The contracted partners - Blade Dynamics, a UK SME, will construct blades of between 80 to 100 metres in length, incorporating carbon fibre rather than conventional fibre glass. Blade Dynamics use an innovative design and manufacturing processes that construct blades through the assembly of smaller, more accurate and easily manufactured component pieces as opposed to traditional large and expensive full-length mouldings.

Prototype blades will be manufactured and in a position to be put into production by late 2014. The structural testing of the first blade is intented to be carried our at a UK test facility.

Designs using carbon fibre will see the blades weigh up to 40% less than glass-fibre blades. This provides significant weight and cost savings and helps to reduce the cost of the energy produced.

Intended end use for the blade technology is on the next generation of large offshore wind turbines, currently under development with a capacity of 8 to 10MW.

As part of the project, the ETI becomes an equity investor in Blade Dynamics. This is to help with technology development and allow the company to grow its workforce by a third in the short to medium term to exploit the technology provided.

NOVA

ETI Investment

£2.8m

Date announced

January 2009

Completion date

Summer 2010

Project Partners

  • OTM
  • Cranfield University
  • The University of Strathclyde Glasgow
  • The University of Sheffield
  • Wind Power Limited
  • James Ingram & Associates
  • Cefas
  • QinetiQ

Overview

The project looked at the feasibility of a novel offshore vertical axis turbine. 

It examined the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of Wind Power Limited’s Aerogenerator concept and highlighted the potential advantages over conventional turbines.

The focus of the ETI project was on achieving significant cost reductions and the study examined whether vertical axis wind turbines could offer significantly cheaper electricity due to the size and scale of the machines as well as simpler maintenance when compared to conventional turbines.

Image Copyright Wind Power Limited & Grimshaw

Helm Wind

Project summary lead image Helm Wind

ETI Investment

£2.5m

Date announced

January 2009

Completion date

Autumn 2010

Project Partners

  • E-ON
  • BP
  • Rolls Royce
  • University of Strathclyde Glasgow

Overview

Helm Wind was a feasibility study to develop the offshore wind power station of the future.

Concepts for reducing total capital expenditure and operational expenditure were included to realise a highly reliable wind farm design with reduced cost of electricity production. The project aimed to address turbine reliability and maintenance.

Helm Wind was the first comprehensive study assessing the complete system design for an offshore wind turbine array including installation, design, aerodynamics, electrical systems, control and maintenance.

The project found that costs could be around 30% less than current state of the art offshore wind turbines with the potential for additional savings as the technology is developed further.

Deep Water

Project summary lead image Deep Water

ETI Investment

£3.3m

Date announced

January 2009

Completion date

Summer 2010

Project Partners

  • Blue H
  • BAE Systems
  • Cefas
  • EDF Energy
  • Romax Technology
  • SLP
  • PAFA Consulting Engineers

Overview

The cost of offshore wind becomes prohibitively expensive as turbines are located in deeper water due to the additional cost of supporting the turbine structure.

Project Deepwater investigated the feasibility of a floating offshore wind turbine which may increase the opportunities for deep water wind turbines. It determined the cost of electricity from a 5MW floating offshore wind turbine and looked at the feasibility and costs of generating electricity using offshore wind turbines mounted on a floating, tension legged platform, in water between 70 and 300 metres deep.

Condition Monitoring

Project summary lead image Condition Monitoring

ETI Investment

£5.4m

Date announced

September 2009

Completion date

Summer 2013

Project Partners

  • Insensys
  • EDF Energy
  • E-ON
  • Romax Technology
  • Seebyte
  • University of Strathclyde Glasgow

Overview

This project aims to develop a system that can detect the causes of faults and component failures in offshore wind turbines. It will provide offshore wind operators with sufficient warning to allow a suitable maintenance strategy to be planned, predicting faults before they occur, identifying potential causes and overall, reducing turbine downtime.

The system has the capability to reduce the cost of generating electricity from offshore wind turbines.

In summer 2011 the system started testing on onshore wind turbines.

Offshore Wind Test Rig Design

Project summary lead image Offshore Wind Test Rig Design

ETI Investment

£1.53m

Date announced

February 2010

Completion date

Winter 2010

Project Partners

  • GE Energy Power Conversion
  • Horiba

Overview

Two companies – GE Energy Power Conversion and HORIBA Instruments – delivered competing technical designs for an indoor test-rig capable of dynamically testing a complete wind turbine drive train and nacelle with input power up to 15MW.

The rig, to be located in the UK, will support the design and manufacturing development of the next generation of very high power wind turbines which will be capable of producing lower cost electricity.

GE Energy Power Conversion were selected to design the test rig in a follow-on contract in July 2011.

Offshore Wind Test Rig

Project summary lead image Offshore Wind Test Rig

ETI Investment

£25m

Date announced

July 2011

Completion date

Summer 2013

Project Partners

  • GE Energy Power Conversion
  • MTS
  • NAREC

Overview

This indoor rig will be sited at the UK’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland and will be capable of testing complete drive trains and nacelles up to 15MW.

The ETI is investing in the facility, by providing funding to a consortium of GE Energy Power Conversion and MTS for the design, development and commissioning of the £25m test rig, a world leading large-scale engineering project.

The test rig will be capable of re-creating the dynamic conditions that affect wind turbines when installed offshore. It will establish a world-leading facility that will help manufacturers increase the reliability of their new turbines, with the benefit to consumers of reduced energy costs.

To view Narec's video on the work they are doing click here.

Offshore renewable industrial doctorate centre

Project summary lead image Offshore renewable industrial doctorate centre

ETI Investment

ETI £5.1m
EPSRC £1.4m

Date announced

August 2011

Project Partners

  • The University of Edinburgh
  • The University of Exeter
  • The University of Strathclyde Glasgow
  • The Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • HR Wallingford

Overview

An Industrial Doctorate Centre in renewable energy technologies, funded by the ETI and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will take its first intake of students in January 2012.

The Centre will train up to 50 students in the research and skills needed to accelerate the development of renewable energy technologies. Each will spend part of their training with the three universities in the consortium.

The students will spend most of their training time in ETI Member companies, as part of the ETI’s major project delivery teams, as well as in other renewable industry organisations. The students will each gain an internationally-leading engineering doctorate.

The drive to meet the UK’s ambitious deployment targets for offshore renewable energy technologies requires a steady supply of highly trained engineers, scientists and leaders. We anticipate that this new Industrial Doctorate Centre will contribute significantly to that requirement.

If you wish to find out more, click here.

ESME

Read more about ESME