DONG Energy and Carbon Trust team up to cut the costs of offshore wind

DONG Energy and the UK Carbon Trust, through its Offshore Wind Accelerator programme (OWA), have reached an agreement to collaborate. OWA has awarded DONG Energy GBP 6 million (DKK 54 million) to co-fund full scale demonstration of a new offshore wind turbine foundation called the Suction Bucket Jacket.

DONG Energy targets to drive down cost of electricity by 40 per cent for projects sanctioned in 2020. Technical innovation in key areas such as foundations is critical to meet this target. The Suction Bucket Jacket was designed by DONG Energy and based on ideas from the SPT Offshore foundation a finalist in a global competition run by the Carbon Trust to find lower cost foundation solutions.

If the demonstration is successful, it could be implemented in future commercial projects from 2017 – including the UK Round 3 projects.

The Suction Bucket Jacket combines jacket technology, consisting of welded tubular space frames, with suction buckets for anchoring the foundation firmly to the seabed.  The bucket foundation (suction caisson) is a well-known concept from the oil and gas industry, where it has been used for more than 30 years for oil platforms installed in the North Sea.

To minimise the time to market for the Suction Bucket Jacket, a full-scale prototype of the foundation will be demonstrated with a turbine as quickly as possible. This will allow the performance and stability to be verified. DONG Energy will demonstrate a full-scale Suction Bucket Jacket prototype at the offshore wind farm Borkum Riffgrund 1, where the sandy soil conditions are highly suitable for testing of this new concept. The foundation will be installed in 2014.

The prototype foundation will be installed with a state of the art measurement system that will provide essential data for the verification of the Suction Bucket Jacket concept. The collaboration will ensure that OWA participants E.ON, Mainstream Renewable Power, ScottishPower Renewables, Statkraft and Statoil will get full insight into this data, and also have full visibility of the fabrication and installation of the new foundation design. This will allow them to evaluate whether to use it in the UK.

This project shows that not only is the UK the world’s most attractive destination for investment in offshore wind, we’re at the cutting edge of innovation in the sector. Innovations like these bring green jobs to Britain, support wider supply chains and reduce the cost of renewable energy bringing real benefit to consumers.

- Edward Davey, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Cutting the costs of offshore wind quickly is the greatest challenge facing the industry over the coming few years. Having identified that lower cost foundations remove significant cost we are delighted to be working with DONG Energy to take this exciting design forward and sharing the concept with other players in the industry.

- Tom Delay, Chief Executive, Carbon Trust

The interest from the Carbon Trust OWA, and the decision to co-fund the full scale demonstration is a great recognition from important developers in the industry of the prospect of this promising new foundation concept. Having more developers utilizing the Suction Bucket Jacket will benefit optimisation of design, fabrication process and installation logistics and thereby help to drive down the cost.

- Tove Feld, Vice President at DONG Energy Wind Power


DONG Energy see the OWA as an important part of the joint industry effort to lower the Cost of Electricity for future offshore wind farms. Cooperation within the OWA makes it possible to scope out and deliver larger projects and new solutions within shorter time frames. The Suction Bucket Jacket demo project is a good example of focused industry cooperation, and this would not be possible without the support from the Carbon Trust.

Tailor-made for future demands

The Suction Bucket Jacket offers a number of advantages, which will be in demand once offshore wind turbines increase in size beyond 5-6 MW and are located in deep water between 30 to 60m. The key benefits of the Suction Bucket Jacket are:

  • Significant reduction of the foundation cost
  • Environmentally friendly installation process
    • Negligible noise emission during the installation
    • Shorter installation time, decreasing impact on the marine environment
    • Usable in a number of soil conditions (e.g. sites with mudstone close to seabed surface)

The Suction Bucket Jacket is well suited to the UK supply chain given the UK’s long history of supplying jackets to the offshore wind and the oil and gas industry.

For further information please contact the Carbon Trust press office on 020 7170 7050 or email

About the Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is an independent company with a mission to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. The Carbon Trust:

  • advises businesses, governments and the public sector on opportunities in a sustainable, low-carbon world;
  • measures and certifies the environmental footprint of organisations, products and services;
  • helps develop and deploy low-carbon technologies and solutions, from energy efficiency to renewable power

About DONG Energy

DONG Energy is one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe. Our business is based on procuring, producing, distributing and trading in energy and related products in Northern Europe. DONG Energy has approximately 6,500 employees and is headquartered in Denmark. The Group generated DKK 67 billion (EUR 9.0 billion) in revenue in 2012. For further information, see

About Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA):

The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is Carbon Trust's flagship collaborative RD&D programme. Set up in 2008, the OWA is a joint industry project, involving nine offshore wind developers with 77% (36GW) of the UK's licensed capacity, which aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind by 10% by 2015. Cost reduction is achieved through innovation.

Since 2009, when the OWA ran an international competition for new foundation designs for deeper waters, the OWA has been supporting the development of novel foundations that are cheaper to fabricate and quicker to install. These will allow offshore wind farms to be built in deeper water, further from shore.

The four finalists from the competition were designs by GBF, Keystone, SPT Offshore, and Universal Foundation. To date, two of these designs have been demonstrated as part of OWA to support meteorological masts – the Keystone ‘twisted jacket’ in 2011 and the Universal Foundation in 2013.

The OWA is one-third funded by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), two-thirds funded by industry. The £6m awarded to DONG for the suction bucket jacket demonstration includes funding from E.ON, Mainstream Renewable Power, ScottishPower Renewables, Statkraft and Statoil.