The baseplate of a new style of offshore wind turbine concrete foundation has been fully cast and should be installed in the English Channel within months.
The foundation is to be installed about 17km off the French port of Fecamp in the so-called “Parc éolien en mer de Fécamp” for the French energy company EDF Energies Nouvelles, Danish DONG Energy and German wpd Offshore.
Norwegian Seatower, Danish MT Højgaard and French Eiffage TP are behind the novel approach.
The base plate for the new prototype is just over 23m in diameter and over a metre high. The weight of the completed structure and meteorological mast with ballast will be 1,760 tonnes.
According to Kim Andersen, director of the Offshore & Steel Bridges division of MT Højgaard, the project had passed a major milestone.
“Now it’s the next stage, with construction of the conical concrete and steel structure which will be constructed on top of the base slab and in a few months the foundation will be made ready and towed to sea,” he said.
MT Højgaard regards itself as being one of the most experienced operators in the installation of both concrete and monopole monopile foundations.
The Danish company planned and installed the foundations for the world’s first offshore windfarm . . . Vindeby offshore Denmark.
Since 1992, MT Højgaard has supplied more than 630 offshore wind turbine foundations, which is equivalent to more than 2GW of wind power.
Andersen believes the development of the new type of foundation is necessary to ensure the continued development of offshore wind power as a cost-competitive alternative.
The ‘Cranefree Gravity foundation concept’ is claimed to mark a big leap forward from earlier types of concrete foundations used thus far.
The foundation is the result of a development project carried out by Norwegian company Seatower. A broad range of know-how and technology from the offshore oil and gas industry was used to develop the new prototype and meet the challenges that the offshore wind power industry faces.
The concrete gravity foundation is a hybrid structure made from concrete and steel; it can apparently be mass-produced efficiently and installed without the use of costly installation vessels.
Since 2011, MT Højgaard and Seatower have collaborated on supplying concrete gravity foundations to the European market.
French contractor Eiffage is manufacturing the new prototype while MT Højgaard is responsible for the installation.