Continual development of monopile design means that they are likely to remain the most used solution for offshore wind farms until at least 2022, according to a new report.
The Renewables Consulting Group’s (RCG) Offshore Wind Foundations: A European Overview looks at evolution in the market since the early 1990s and considers future foundation solutions.
Currently 82% of the 3,700 offshore wind turbines in use are supported on monopile foundations with the remainder founded on gravity, jacket or tripod structures. According to RCG, that balance is unlikely to change much in the next five years as the commissioned offshore wind fleet approaches 6,000.
The report states: “A key reason why alternative foundation solutions have not had greater impact on the market, besides the slow development of the required industrialised processes for manufacturing and installation, is the constant development of monopiles.”
According to RCG, it is only once wind farms start to move to deeper water that alternative solutions are likely to come to the fore. RCG has said that monopoles have been successfully deployed in water depths of up to 41m and the market may see the solution used in deeper water. “However, recent improvements in the industrialised manufacturing and installation process for alternative solutions and the impending introduction of next generation turbine technology is expected to intensify the level of competition at this depth range,” it said.