"The offshore wind industry is in the process of becoming an advanced and mature industry in North Western Europe, with the costs of the energy produced by offshore wind farms rapidly decreasing. The cost of offshore wind energy, however, is still higher than the cost of energy from fossil sources. The success of offshore wind, as a significant contributor to the global energy supply in the future, will depend on future energy prices, enabling legislation to further develop offshore wind and technologies that reduce CAPEX and OPEX costs. This paper will present an overview of technologies that are being developed by Van Oord and other innovative companies in the offshore wind supply chain, notably AdBm from the USA and Fistuca from the Netherlands.
The presented technology developments aim at lowering the costs of foundations for offshore wind turbines, which is a significant part of the total CAPEX cost. The costs of foundations can be reduced by: 1) optimizing the design; this means less weight, easier to install and with the lowest possible maintenance costs over its lifetime, 2) developing installation vessels and equipment that enable faster installation with limited dependency on sea state. At the same time, wind turbine manufacturers are developing larger offshore wind turbines and legislators are instituting more limitations, for example on the emissions of underwater noise. These developments create additional challenges for upscaling the installation capacity and performance of vessels and pile driving equipment and the development of technology that reduces or abates underwater noise.
This paper presents an overview of new technologies related to foundation design, installation vessels, pile driving technology and noise mitigation systems and the challenges to get those new technologies ready for implementation as fast as possible.
These new technologies will become relevant for upcoming sector developments, e.g. in North America and Asia, with specific local challenges like difficult soil conditions, restricted installation periods due to weather constraints, or noise mitigation to prevent damage of sensitive marine life.