This begs the question, are smaller capacity pilot-scale schemes the best way to navigate the challenges of scaling up floating wind?
The challenges of designing a structurally efficient, low-motion vessel are not the same for a small 250MW facility as they are for a commercial-scale floating substation of 1GW. On the contrary, the challenges for designing for 250MW equipment, which requires a smaller and lighter substation topside, are greater – and may not deliver the valuable lessons needed to inform the development of larger floating substations.
Our team has looked closely at this question and concluded that for a 250MW capacity, a minimum structure Tension Leg Platform (TLP) provided the best low-motion, low weight solution. Here, tendons are deployed to provide stability, rather than relying on a large water-plane area to keep the structure stable when floating. We modelled this solution for a water depth of 150m, typical of depths offshore Korea and potential sites in the Mediterranean.
So, what is the answer to scaling up to 1GW substations?
Scaling down a design for a commercial-scale substation isn’t the best solution for pilot-scale projects. Instead, the focus should be on delivering the most efficient structural solution for every pilot-scale project rather than scaling up or down. This will enable us to build the big, bigger and biggest picture so that our learnings drive surety in future design and lead to successful project execution.