The reduction of costs of offshore wind energy is primarily driven by innovations and efficiency improvements. The industry continues to find ways to increase the power generation of offshore wind farms. Currently, a generating capacity of 15 MW per turbine is close to reality. Sif tracks the latest developments in turbine technology closely and investigates exactly what effect this will have on size, manufacturability and cost of foundations.
For the near future we have concluded that a 9-metre diameter monopile with a 70 mm minimal wall thickness creates a tipping point in terms of technical and economical feasibility. Gathering the actual production and production technology experience with these types of monopile dimensions is essential before we enter into projects with larger diameter/smaller wall thicknesses. In parallel, we will use our innovation capabilities to study and develop technically and economically viable production methodologies for the serial production of monopiles above the 9-metre diameter mark.
Our policy on product innovation is targeted to support the further deployment of monopile technology. With this in mind we support numerous start-ups and research projects as well as executing several internal innovative projects. We work closely with TU Delft, TNO and many other research institutes. As an example, the development of the Skybox is our vision on the most efficient way to go ‘TP-less’. Other initiatives are focused on the development of innovative bottom-fixed foundation concepts for greater water depths while forming our vision and role on floating foundations.
From a wider perspective, our policy is focused on supporting the total value chain of offshore wind, taking our role as monopile market leader, resulting in efforts that will lower the LCOE of offshore wind by optimizing interfaces between:
- Sif and the Transport & Installation (T&I) contractor, by optimizing the logistics between fabrication, storage and load-out use by investing in a 628 metre deep-sea quayside where jack-up vessels can berth very closely to the quayside to use the vessel’s crane reach optimally. Combined with a seabed in front of our quay side which allows for quick jacking, this results in the load-out of foundations in a short turnaround cycle.
- Sif and the turbine supplier, by providing all logistical services required at the same Sif marshalling site for nacelles, blades and tower pre-assemby including ro-ro load-in and deep sea load-out.
- Sif and the foundation designer, by providing alternative designs or design input focused on manufacturability, maintenance, health and safety, environment and decommissioning. Ultimately Sif can perform the overall and detailed design directly for the employer based on reliable wind, wave, soil and turbine data.
In today’s wind energy market, adaptibility to new requirements from customers is key.
Constantly increasing requirements on capacity throughput and quality levels have to be fulfilled. Therefore process innovation is a must to support the business case, certainty to customers. The process innovations at Sif are realized in different ways.