National wind consortium makes its first technology R&D award


The US National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium has selected a division of the US Department of Energy to conduct research and development of floating wind farm technology.

The consortium has provided the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with $300,000 in funding to implement its ‘Shared Mooring Systems for Deep Floating Wind Farms’ project.

The laboratory will:

  1. Assess reducing the costs of floating wind farms by sharing mooring lines
  2. This means fewer anchors will be required in floating wind farms to connect adjacent turbine platforms and to distribute the load
  3. Design and update its modelling tools to support floating wind farms with shared mooring systems

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The aim of the project is to increase the adoption of floating wind farms across the US.

The US is facing a challenge to expand its offshore wind farms due to deep waters, unlike the comparatively shallow waters off the coast of Europe.

As the depth increases, the cost to keep turbines anchored significantly increases due to the need for longer mooring lines to secure the floating turbine foundation to the seabed

According to US DOE, more than 58% of the total technical offshore wind resource is located in water depths greater than 60 meters, where floating offshore wind technology will be used.

The selection of NREL by the consortium is part of an initiative launched by the organisation seeking proposals to address wind turbine array performance and control optimisation, cost-reducing turbine support structures for the US market,  floating structure mooring concepts for shallow and deep waters and power system design and innovation.

NYSERDA is managing the consortium’s solicitation and is accepting proposals through 31 December 2019.

NYSERDA is using $18.5 million in funding awarded by the DoE.

Members of the consortium include GE Renewable Energy, Avangrid Renewables; EDF Renewables; EDP Renewables and Shell.

 “This selection is important to further the commercialization of offshore floating wind in the U.S.,” said Senu Sirnivas principal engineer for NREL’s offshore wind energy technology programs. “Station-keeping system components and installation costs directly affect levelized cost of energy. In order for offshore floating wind to become more competitive with other energy sources, this project explores the economic feasibility of shared mooring systems for station-keeping and to provide the industry with design tools to explore cost reductions.”