DONG Energy has entered into cooperation with the University of Oxford, Imperial College London and University College Dublin to work on a research ad development (R&D) project, Pile Soil Analysis (PISA), aimed at reducing the price of offshore wind power by 35%-40% by 2020.
DONG Energy will carry out the PISA project alongside RWE, Statoil, Statkraft, SSE, Scottish Power and Vattenfall.
PISA will be run under the framework of the Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), a UK Government-supported initiative established to promote offshore wind energy and reduce the cost of energy.
DONG Energy wind power senior vice-president Bent Christensen said, "The cost of energy from offshore wind turbines must be reduced.
"We expect to find significant savings by trimming monopile sizes and finding new ways of installing the foundations, amongst others. Consequently, we believe a significant contribution can come from this area towards our efforts of reducing the price of offshore wind power by 35-40% by 2020."
Currently, the amount of steel used in a typical offshore wind turbine accounts for 600t and the thickness of the steel used for each pile is approxmiately 100mm.
DONG said, if this can be reduced, even by a fraction, without compromising on quality and strength, there will be significant savings made in developing offshore wind.
The working group has entered into cooperation with the University of Oxford for a period of 18 months, with the project commencing on 1 August 2013.
The task of the working group is to find technological solutions to be implemented in time for the design and construction of the large Round 3 offshore wind projects in the UK, and publish its final report in early 2015.
Image: Turbine foundation on its way to Anholt Offshore Wind Farm; Photo: courtesy of DONG Energy.