Iberdrola Engineering & Construction-led team which includes the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has demonstrated the new floating turbine platform in UK.


The new 5MW floating turbine, known as tension leg platform (TLP), has been developed as part of the TPLWind project and by leveraging the expertise of the ORE Catapult and the University of Strathclyde.

The project aims to deliver a lightweight and stable floating wind turbine for offshore wind projects in UK waters.

The partners tested a 1:36 scale model of the TLPWind project at the University of Strathclyde under simulating conditions which is expected off the northeast coast of Scotland.

During the testing, up to 16m waves and 49m a second wind gusts were replicated to prove the dynamic nature and seakeeping abilities of the TLPWIND platform.

The TLPWIND technology demonstrated dynamic behavior with very low displacements and almost no rotations.

According to ORE Catapult estimates, levelised cost of energy analysis for the design, based on a 500MW offshore wind farm in UK waters, could reach £95/MWh by 2025.

However, the cost is estimated be as low as £88/MWh by 2030 and potentially as low as £64/MWh by 2050 if the TPLWind project uses larger turbines, according to the ORE analysis.

The University of Strathclyde professor Sandy Day said: "This technology has been shown to work and it has been shown to reduce cost.

"We carried out rigorous testing of the scale models and found that even under stressful conditions, the platform is both stable and robust."
The partners are now planning to ready the design for a full commercial test.

ORE Catapult investment and financial analyst Gavin Smart said: "Floating wind is likely to be an extremely important technology as we aim to drive down the overall cost of renewable energy.

"TLPWIND is a novel solution that could unlock the potential in deeper water sites than we can currently access, while delivering a platform for growth."

Image: The TLPWIND platform during testing. Photo: courtesy of Offshore Renewable Energy.