Firms Trying to Cut Cost of Building Offshore Wind Farms

Partner companies in the Joint Industry Project "Wave Impact on Fixed Turbine" are studying the impacts of steep, breaking waves and more moderate seas with an eye to the design rules currently used for fixed offshore wind turbines.

A Dutch research institute, Deltares, announced it has begun initial scale model tests to study the impact of steep, breaking waves on offshore wind turbines. Believing wind turbines at sea could be much cheaper, reducing material costs by 10 percent, Deltares and the other members of the Joint Industry Project "Wave Impact on Fixed Turbine" (JIP WiFi) are joining forces to conduct research that tests this hypothesis.

The design rules currently used to determine the impact of breaking waves on the turbines are very conservative, according to Deltares. The objective of the JIP WiFi is to improve the way effects of steep, breaking waves and more moderate seas are taken into account in the design methodology of fixed offshore wind turbines.

Considerable research already has been done in this area, "but further insight is required to take this effect better into account in future wind farms," the company's announcement stated, adding that results will be available to participants in 2014.

The other project partners are Ramboll, a Danish engineering, design, and consultancy company; MARIN and ECN, Dutch research institutes; Statkraft, based in Norway and Europe's leading renewable energy provider; and classification companies GL and DNV.

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