RWE: Funded study signals floating wind opportunity for Scottish industry

A study funded by RWE, one of the world’s leaders in offshore wind, concludes that Scotland could become a world leader in the production of low-carbon concrete foundations for floating offshore wind farms. The study has identified the potential business opportunities of ScotWind’s current seabed leasing cycle and calls on Scottish politicians, project developers, suppliers and industry experts to join forces and seek the best way to unleash potential, while maximizing local investment opportunities.

The study fills a significant gap in the industry’s understanding of the scale and commercial potential of producing concrete foundations for floating offshore wind farms. It also expands RWE’s knowledge of floating offshore wind, gained from three major floating wind technology trials it is undertaking with partners around the world.

Carried out in partnership with researchers from the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, via its Floating Offshore Wind Center of Excellence (FOWCOE), the study was also supported by experts from the offshore wind industry of the United Kingdom. Concrete Center.

Floating foundations use both steel and concrete designs, but most research in the UK to date has focused on steel designs. The study addressed this problem by testing the feasibility of a production facility capable of constructing 33 concrete floating foundations for 15 megawatt (MW) turbines each year.

Researchers reviewed Scotland‘s experience and existing capacities for producing specialized concrete with a focus on the use of low carbon methods and materials. He found that Scottish ports and industry have existing experience and skills in large scale concrete production which can be applied to this low carbon alternative. The country is therefore well positioned to make the foundations, attracting significant investment in the Scottish and UK supply chain.

Ralph Torr, Program Director, ORE Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Center of Excellence, said: “Floating offshore wind offers significant opportunities for Scotland, but with these come some industrial challenges. supply chain capacity as well as the creation of new capacity. This is why this assessment of the role the concrete supply chain in Scotland can play in delivering large-scale floating wind projects is such an important step. It opens up new possibilities for Scotland’s leadership in floating offshore wind and how it can translate into tangible economic benefits. ”

In terms of the scale of the opportunities, the study noted that a single project would require a volume of low-carbon concrete potentially up to four times that needed to build one of the largest infrastructure projects. of Scotland, the Queensferry Crossing.

He also said that to keep costs down and reduce the carbon footprint, concrete production would have to take place on or near the dock where the foundations would be deployed. He identified that there are four Scottish ports – Hunterston, Kishorn, Cromarty Firth (Invergordon) and Ardersier harbor, as well as clusters of potential sites, including the Cromarty Firth and the Forth and Tay, which could potentially meet capacity. required.

The study found that the industry would need to invest significantly to ensure the infrastructure is in place to meet the requirements. He called for more industry-wide work to study the business case for developing such a facility and the steps needed to trigger such an investment.

RWE is already one of the world’s leading offshore wind companies and is leading the development of the largest offshore wind pipeline in the UK. The company is committed to accelerating the growth of its capacity to generate clean energy and, as part of its recently announced Growing Green strategy, RWE has committed to invest € 50 billion gross until 2030. to expand its green generation capacity to 50 gigawatts, with some £ 15 billion earmarked for the UK, including for floating offshore wind projects in Scotland.

RWE and floating offshore wind turbines

RWE is on track to become a leader in floating wind and have 1 GW in operation or under construction by 2030. The company is pioneering three offshore floating wind projects with partners, two of which use designs of concrete foundations. In Spain, RWE is working with Saitec Offshore Technologies on the DemoSATH project, a concrete double-hull barge structure made up of prefabricated modular components. It is expected to enter service in mid-2022. For its New England Aqua Ventus project in the United States, RWE is partnering with Diamond Offshore Wind and the University of Maine to deploy a semi-submersible concrete structure. The project will use an 11 MW turbine and is expected to enter service in 2024. The most advanced project is the TetraSpar demonstration project, which is currently commissioned off the Norwegian coast near Stavanger in waters as deep as 200 meters.

Photos of concrete foundations for the demoSATH project of which RWE is a partner, for media use (credit: Saitec Offshore Technologies) are available at RWE Media Center.

You can Read the full report here.