A new concept in wind turbine technology is being explored by an international consortium of 12 members to determine the viability of a vertical-axis wind turbine, new blade technology, a full power transmission and control system and a rotating, floating offshore substructure. This is in an attempt to improve the economic viability of future offshore wind power.
The consortium is called DeepWind and as mentioned in a press release, “Our objective is to develop more cost-effective MW wind turbines through dedicated technology rather than advancing existing concepts that are based on onshore technology being transported to the sea environment. Offshore wind energy today is twice as expensive as onshore technologies. That means that there is plenty of room for improvement,” says DeepWind Project Manager Uwe Schmidt Paulsen, Risø DTU.
Studies show that for sea depths exceeding 30-60m, floating structures are economically more feasible than present offshore technology based on piled, jack-up or gravity foundations. The cost of material and logistics used in these constructions is simply too high. Furthermore, floating wind turbines will open up the possibility of placing offshore wind turbine plants with excellent wind potential near large cities with a deep-water coastline in e.g. Europe, Asia and North America.
The development of offshore wind power has been identified by the European Union as a crucial part of the power generation from renewable sources in the future.