German energy company innogy is set to partner with British-Dutch oil and gas major Shell in bringing to fruition a new floating wind demonstration project designed by Stiesdal Offshore Technologies which boasts a modular layout that could offer competitive advantages to other floating wind designs.
On Wednesday, the three companies announced the final investment decision on an €18 million investment to test Stiesdal Offshore Technologies’ TetraSpar floating foundation demonstration project which is set to be tested off the coast of Norway in 2020. The design’s modular layout consists of a tubular steel main structure with a suspended keel and could open the door for potentially a leaner manufacturing, assembly, and installation process and lower material costs.
Shell increased its share in the newly-founded project company to 66% while innogy retains its 33% share. Stiesdal holds the remaining shares but is primarily contributing the TetraSpar concept. Joining the operations will be technology partner Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy which will provide the wind turbine and required services necessary to test the floating foundation.
“innogy is seeking offshore growth opportunities worldwide and we are confident that floating wind is going to be an important growth market in the future,” said Martin Ferreira, Head of Offshore Investment & Asset Management at innogy SE. “This demonstration project lays the foundation for this by giving us a better understanding of both the technical insights and how the cost of floating wind can be driven down.”
True-to-scale model tests have been underway since December 2018 using the wave-wind channel at the University of Maine, USA, and the wave tank at FORCE in Lyngby, Denmark. As Stiesdal Offshore Technologies moves towards full-scale testing, the necessary components for the large floating prototype will be manufactured by Welcon A/S in Give, Denmark, and then be transported to the Port of Grenaa in Denmark to be assembled. After the launch of the floating foundation, a 3.6 MW Siemens Gamesa wind turbine will be mounted to the foundation at the quayside using a land-based crane.
From the Port of Grenaa, after assembly, the completed structure will be towed to the test site of the Marine Energy Test Centre (Metcentre) near Stavanger in Norway, located approximately 10 kilometers from shore in water depths of 200 meters, in the northern part of the North Sea, where it will be moored to the seabed with three anchor lines and connected to the electrical grid.
“Reaching the final investment decision on the deployment and test of our first full-scale demonstration project is a very important milestone for us,” added Henrik Stiesdal, CEO of Stiesdal Offshore Technologies A/S. “We have already benefited greatly from the dialogue with Shell, innogy and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy during the project planning, and we look forward to further enhance the dialogue during the project execution. The benefits of our partners’ experience combined with the competences of our manufacturing partner, Welcon will put us on the fast-track for rapid commercialisation.”
“Shell is working to grow our renewable power business and sees great promise in floating wind technologies that could change the face of the offshore wind industry over the next decade,” explained James Cotter, Project Manager Shell. “We want to help accelerate this change by sharing our offshore expertise with our partners in order to progress innovative solutions such as TetraSpar.”