Iberdrola, via its engineering and construction subsidiary, the Scottish University of Strathclyde and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have started work on the TLPWIND project, an R&D initiative with a focus on the offshore wind power sector and a budget allocation in excess of €1 million. The goal of this project backed by innovation agency Innovate UK is to promote the installation of offshore wind farms in areas of the United Kingdom where this option is not currently feasible because of the water depth.
The project will entail designing a state-of-the-art floating wind turbine model and an innovative system for installation, to be implemented on a subsequent basis at a number of sites chosen in advance, where water depth ranges between 60 and 100 metres.
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The TLPWIND project aims to create a highly reliable model for offshore wind farms that will allow to drastically shorten installation times and cut costs. Both of these aspects are crucial to the future of offshore wind power.
The foundations to be designed will be moored to the seabed using tensioned cables, which will in turn almost entirely restrict the movement of the platform on which the offshore wind turbine will be placed. The dimensions and weight of the steel used in these platforms will be optimised to the maximum, thereby bringing down construction costs.
Using these foundations designed by Iberdrola will mean that it will be possible to carry out most of the installation operations on land and then transfer the infrastructure out to sea. This will simplify the operations involved and bring down costs, as the specialised vessels needed when setting up this kind of infrastructure will not be required for as many hours.
Iberdrola’s partners in this project are the University of Strathclyde and ORE Catapult. The University of Strathclyde is a leading centre of research in the fields of ocean engineering, survival, maritime safety and offshore renewable energies. This academic institution also boasts one of the best hydrodynamic testing tank facilities in the United Kingdom, which will be of key importance in ensuring the success of the TLPWIND project.
ORE Catapult is the UK’s flagship technology innovation and research centre set up to accelerate the development, testing, commercialisation and deployment of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy technologies.
The initiative has been included in the Infrastructure for Offshore Renewables Collaborative R&D projects programme co-funded by Innovate UK, which aims to optimise the supply chain in the offshore renewables sector by promoting R&D projects.
This initiative is further proof of the Iberdrola Group’s commitment to offshore wind energy, a sector in which it is developing major projects to build new facilities (mostly in the UK, Germany and France) and working on enhancing its technology by carrying out R&D studies.