Innovative offshore wind turbine foundation deployed

An innovative new foundation which could help cut the costs of electricity from offshore wind farms has been successfully deployed by DONG Energy as part of its collaboration with the Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA).

The full-scale trial of the Suction Bucket Jacket foundation is being conducted at the Borkum Riffgrund 1 offshore wind farm, 37km off the North West coat of Germany, is the culmination of work to overcome one of the key challenges that will be faced by offshore wind farms of the future.

As projects are built further from shore, in deeper water, they will need to be installed without exceeding strict regulatory requirements on underwater noise. The innovative suction bucket design, developed by DONG Energy, has been tailor-made specifically to tackle these challenges.

It consists of three legs welded together in a jacket structure, standing on three giant suction buckets which anchor the foundation to the seabed. The lightweight structure can be installed offshore in a single operation, reducing the time of the installation and so helping to reduce the costs of electricity from offshore wind. DONG Energy's target is to drive down cost of electricity by 35-40 per cent for offshore wind farm projects sanctioned in 2020.

Borkum Riffgrund 1 has been selected for testing the foundation due to its sandy seabed, which makes the installation a challenge and provides a more solid case for the evaluation of the concept. A 3.6MW turbine from Siemens Wind Power will be installed on top of the foundation in October this year.