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Some Offshore Wind Foundations Lower Risk

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February 21, 2015

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Some Offshore Wind Foundations Lower Risk

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New innovative foundation designs could prove to be more cost effective than conventional foundation for projects with increasing depth and turbine sizes. This is the result of a commercial study launched by MEC Intelligence. The study compares various offshore wind foundation designs on multiple cost parameters.

MEC Intelligence, provider of cleantech and maritime market insight and analysis, has launched a commercial study comparing the cost of a range of offshore wind foundation designs. The study concludes that while Cranefree Gravity foundation is suitable for 6 MW and 8 MW in medium to high depths, Mono Suction Bucket is cost effective for projects with turbine sizes around 4 MW and 6 MW in lower to medium depths.

“The need for turbine installation deeper into the sea will create demand for larger and heavier foundations and therefore, for cost effective designs. The aim of the study has been to compare the cost of foundation technologies in offshore wind by looking at the conventional foundation types and new innovative foundation designs,” says Jacob Jensen, Partner at MEC Intelligence.

Conventional foundation designs, monopiles and jackets, have been compared with new innovative designs – gravity based and suction based foundation designs. The results of the study are that the innovative foundation designs could prove to be more cost effective than conventional foundations for projects with increasing depths and turbine sizes.

The conclusions are built on MEC Intelligence’s wide sources and internal database of actual offshore wind projects. The costing assumptions are based on actual values witnessed on the offshore wind projects and inputs from various industry experts. The study does not include risk and premium costs in the analysis.

The study also includes a comprehensive risk and sensitivity analysis where the conclusions of the analysis is that CraneFree Gravity appears to be least sensitive to changes in market conditions when assessed on future uncertainty factors and risks such as, steel price fluctuation and vessel availability. The design is largely made of concrete and does not require heavy lift vessels for installation.

“With the CraneFree Gravity foundation designs most of the fabrication takes place on the port and therefore there is not a high dependence on production facilities. Only tugboats or platform support vessels are needed for its installation, which faces no major supply risks,” says Jensen.

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