- Published: 24 September 2018 24 September 2018
As part of the Floating Wind Joint Industry Report, published on behalf of the Carbon Trust, LOC Renewables, together with WavEC and Cathie Associates, examined the logistical challenges relating to floating offshore, noting that few European ports are capable of accommodating all the quay-side manufacturing and assembly required for building and operating large-scale floating wind farms.
In order to accommodate the quay-side construction of a large-scale floating wind farm, a port must meet various criteria. For a start, it will require a suitably large onshore area for component set-down and production lines. An area for wet storage of assembled units will also be needed and the port should be close to other operation-capable ports. However, the research revealed that existing port infrastructure is largely insufficient: of 96 European ports analysed, only a few in Scotland, Norway and Spain were suitable for the development and operation of floating offshore wind farms.
Without a plan to develop a network of appropriate ports, the lack of suitable infrastructure for commercial floating offshore wind farms will lead projects to suffer from increased costs and longer operational lead times.
In terms of vessels and equipment, the report further concluded that current installation and support vessels used for fixed foundation wind farms are likely to prove insufficient, and new ones will need to be developed to meet the demands of floating offshore projects. In particular, if construction is to be carried out offshore, the industry will need to invest in new vessels with greater lifting capacity. Limited port space is less of an issue if better towing systems are developed that are capable of bringing over components from nearby port assembly sites.