Jacket foundations have enjoyed a peaceful corner of the offshore wind market for years, as they have been the solution of choice for deep installation (Aegir Insights' Big Float report).
But the peace is being challenged, as XXL monopiles encroach on their territory from one end by enabling installation of monopiles at ever greater depths, while floating foundation manufacturers are pushing to make their floaters competitive as low as 50 meters, encroaching on jacket territory from the opposite end.
On top of that, Sif Group announced their “The Revival of the Tripod” last week, also setting their sights on water depths formerly dominated by jacket foundations.
Aegir Insights will explore this battle over the traditional jacket territory in our ongoing intelligence series: “The Big Float: 40 Floating Projects to Change the World.”
Shallow sites will dominate first floating wind projects
Examining the 40 projects of the Big Float, what immediately strikes is how dominant shallow floating sites are, with more than 40% of the projects at sites with water depths of 100 meters or less, as illustrated by the attached chart.
There are many good reasons why these early commercial sites are predominantly shallow. These first projects will provide the testing ground for proving bankability of floating turbines, and shallower sites lend flexibility for learning O&M operations either with in situ vessels, or tow-to-shore major component replacements, and also allows early projects to avoid floating substations, which have another set of hurdles to overcome before reaching commercial feasibility.
But why is precisely the range of 50 to 100 meters water depth so important? Is it the battleground that will define the future of floating and change the rules for fixed-bottom foundation providers?
In Aegir Insights’ Big Float subscription series, we will feature analysis on this 50-100 meter battle ground, examining the floater concepts, mooring challenges and competing technologies fighting for this valuable acreage.