New research aims to extend monopile weight and depth limits

Thanet offshore windfarm

Monopiles are the cheapest and most widespread offshore wind turbine foundation, however they experience structural issues as their length, and the weight they bear, increases. Currently, this creates weight and water depth limits.

The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), led by the Carbon Trust, is hoping to find a solution, through a new project called Support Structure Damping. 

The project is seeking a contractor for the technical delivery of six work packages.  The invitation to tender is open to submissions from prospective bidders. 

The accelerator is also open for new partners to participate in the project. 

Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Manager, Robert Keast said, “monopile research is particularly urgent as the number of shallow sites are limited.  

“Cost effective expansion into deeper waters will be required for us to meet Net Zero targets and create more affordable energy for end consumers” 

Currently, alternative foundation types, such as jackets, tripods, or floating structures, would need to be used past a certain depth.  

If monopiles become available for deeper waters, it could drastically cut the costs and complexity of wind farm development. 

Keast said, “at present, most turbines installed are 10MW or less, with larger 15-20MW turbines expected to become standard by the late 2020s.

“We hope that this research will find improved damping solutions for wind turbine structures, to prevent the structural issues caused by increasing water depth and turbine weight.” 

The project will define new design guidelines, which incorporate improved damping technologies, for offshore wind structures.

The guidelines will set best practice for developers and turbine manufacturers to collaborate in the structural design process.

The tender closes on 1st December 2022, with successful applicants expected to begin work later this year, running until early 2024. 

The Carbon Trust will manage and lead the project, with the selected contractor delivering the technical studies, supported by project partners Equinor, RWE, Shell, SSE Renewables, TotalEnergies and GE. 

Notes to editors 

For further information please contact:  

The Carbon Trust press office on +44 (0)20 7170 7050 or 

About the Carbon Trust 

The Carbon Trust is a global climate consultancy driven by the mission to accelerate the move to a decarbonised future. We have been pioneering decarbonisation for more than 20 years for businesses, governments, and organisations. Drawing on a network of over 400 experts internationally, the Carbon Trust guides organisations through their journey to Net Zero. From strategic planning and target setting to delivery, activation, and communication - we provide smarter ways to turn intent into impact.  

About the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA)  

The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is the Carbon Trust's flagship collaborative research, development and deployment programme. The joint initiative was set up between the Carbon Trust and nine offshore wind developers in 2008, with the aim to reduce the cost of offshore wind to be competitive with conventional energy generation.  

The current phase involves participation and funding from nine international energy companies: EnBW, Equinor, Ørsted, RWE Renewables, ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, SSE Renewables, TotalEnergies and Vattenfall.