Suck it and sea – new design could cut wind costs

Copying the shape of a bucket in offshore wind turbine foundations could reduce the high costs of the energy source. A trial of the new technology is to begin this […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Copying the shape of a bucket in offshore wind turbine foundations could reduce the high costs of the energy source.

A trial of the new technology is to begin this summer at different test sites in the UK North Sea.

A group of offshore wind giants, including Statoil, Statkraft and DONG Energy, are joining forces to install the so-called “suction bucket” turbine foundations.

The £6.5 million trial was one of four designs shortlisted in an international competition run by the Carbon Trust in 2009.

Wind turbine foundations will be sunk into the seabed using pressure by the bucket-shaped base, which is believed to be quicker to install and requires less steel than conventional foundations.

Carbon Trust claims such innovative foundation designs could snip the capital costs of offshore wind energy by up to £1 billion over the next decade and cut the cost of energy from offshore wind farms by 10%.

Jan Matthiesen, Director of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) said: “That is good for developers and for consumers as it means it brings down the cost of offshore wind energy. This trial is critical as it will determine the extent to which it can be applied for future offshore wind projects.”

Two “suction buckets” are currently installed at the Dogger Bank wind farm (pictured), around 100 kilometres off the east coast of England.