The project aims to develop, build and test a floating offshore wind turbine to investigate whether floating wind farms could play a cost-effective role in helping to meet the UK’s energy needs.
Wave Hub, which is a grid-connected offshore energy test facility 10 miles off the north coast of Cornwall, could host the project as early as 2015. The demonstrator would remain in place for between eight and 10 years.
The ETI has also confirmed US-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm Glosten Associates as the company that will design the demonstrator. It will develop a PelaStar tension leg platform (TLP) prototype in partnership with Alstom, using their Haliade 150-6MW offshore wind turbine.
We are delighted the ETI has selected Wave Hub as its preferred site for this innovative floating wind project. We very much look forward to working with their partners, Glosten Associates and Alstom, to enable this project to be installed at the site by 2015. With support from the ETI preparatory work is already underway. A geophysical survey of the Wave Hub site has recently been completed to inform a more detailed geotechnical investigation in the summer, and we are analysing the available metocean data for the Wave Hub site to inform the design of the floating wind platform. Our current work to upgrade the onshore substation, part of our strategy to future-proof Wave Hub for deployments of larger wave energy arrays within the existing consented site, will also enable us to accommodate the 6MW prototype in a single berth.
The ETI is commissioning and funding a Front End Engineering Design Study (FEED) that will take about 12 months to complete and cost £4m. During this time Wave Hub will also apply for the necessary consents to enable offshore wind to be deployed at the site. The ETI will then decide whether to invest up to £21m in the construction and deployment of the demonstrator project which would occupy one of Wave Hub’s four berths.