Iberdrola has kicked off work on the TLP wind floating turbine project, which aims to "drastically shorten installation times and cut costs" for offshore wind in the UK.
The €1m research and development initiative with Scotland’s University of Strathclyde and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, which is backed by Innovate UK, will promote the installation of offshore wind farms in areas not currently considered feasible because of water depths.
Work will involve designing a floating wind turbine model and innovative installation system, which will be trialled "at a number of sites chosen in advance, where water depth ranges between 60 and 100 metres", Iberdrola said.
The foundations will be moored to the seabed using tensioned cables, which will almost entirely restrict the movement of the platform, and the dimensions and weight of the steel used will be optimised to slash construction costs.
Iberdrola said the designs will make it possible to carry out most of the installation operations on land and then transfer the infrastructure to sea, simplifying the operations involved and further trimming costs.
The Spanish company said the aid of the University of Strathclyde, which boasts one of the best hydrodynamic testing tank facilities in the UK, would be crucial.