Floating turbines could cut the cost of offshore wind power to below £85/MWh by the mid-2020s, according to an engineering design study by The Glosten Associates for the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).
The new study revealed that the company's PelaStar tension leg floating platform (TLP) could deliver further reductions as the technology matures and is designed to provide high capacity factors in wind speeds exceeding 10m per second in water between 60m and 1,200m deep.
The UK is said to have over a third of Europe's potential offshore wind resource, which is enough to meet the power demand of the country nearly three times over.
The FEED study has shown that Glosten's PelaStar TLP design could play a major role in reducing UK offshore wind energy costs.
The company said that the TLP technology is suitable for water depths from as low as 55m up to several hundred metres.
ETI Offshore Renewables programme manager Andrew Scott said the study has shown the potential for targeted innovation to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy. This project has shown that, by 2030, offshore wind could be delivering energy at costs similar to the lowest cost forms of low carbon generation.
"This project has already validated our earlier research into offshore wind which showed that that access to high wind areas which are reasonably close to shore will result in very competitive energy costs," Scott said.
Glosten project manager William Hurley said: "We completed a substantial amount of engineering, design and model testing, as well as project execution planning and installation engineering, and are pleased to find the results have validated our earlier work. It shows a highly promising opportunistic path for the industry to achieve and exceed cost targets for the end of the decade and beyond to make it a commercially attractive option. We are ready for a full-scale 6MW demonstration project."
Image: Glosten Floating Tension Leg Platform Study for ETI suggests Offshore Wind energy costs of below £85/MWh by 2020s. Photo: courtesy of Energy Technologies Institute LLP.