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Offshore wind industry review of Gravity Based Structures

Identifying the key barriers to large scale commercialisation of gravity based structures in the offshore wind industry

Publication date: December 2015

This study by the Carbon Trust, supported by the Scottish Government, highlights the barriers that exist to large-scale commercialisation and adoption of gravity based structures (GBS) as Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) foundations for deeper water sites in the offshore wind sector.

GBSs have been successfully demonstrated and deployed in shallow water wind farm projects. However, as wind farm developers have ventured further offshore into deeper waters, the industry has failed to adopt GSBs as a potential solution for large-scale commercial projects.

The study states that this inertia in the industry has been caused by lack of confidence in the fabrication and installation of GBSs for commercial projects. This is in part, due to insufficient levels of investment in the right fabrication infrastructure to make large-scale roll out viable, and a lack of coordinated and targeted activities to address and overcome major challenges. 

Unlike steel based foundations, which utilises an existing supply chain, GBSs require specialised concrete fabrication sites, ideally located close to deployment sites. The study highlights that there has been a lack of will from the supply chain to invest in large scale production sites as, to-date, the market signals have been insufficient.

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