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What are the obstacles to floating wind?

Technical challenges are no doubt a reflection of the state of the floating wind industry, still very much in development and still trying out hull prototypes and mooring options. There are only a handful of small operational floating wind farms in the world, including Hywind Scotland. Hywind Scotland will soon be followed by Hywind Tampen, a sister project which will not mirror its older sibling but rather experiment further with floating wind technologies to install and anchor even larger turbines.

The main unknown remains cost and economic risk. The results of the poll placing this variable at the top of the obstacles to projects reflect this uncertainty. While the economic feasibility of shallow-water offshore wind power is now fully understood from decades of installation and operation, the cost and economic risk of floating wind is still unfamiliar to the industry. Several studies, however, indicate that higher costs may be more of a perception than a reality, seeing that the floating wind structures bear significant cost advantages due to the possibility for onshore assembly, offset their costs by increased capacity due to higher offshore winds, and the flexibility of being towed and easily relocated. New technologies are also constantly being developed, increasing power per turbine, reducing weight load, or prolonging blade life and yielding lower lifecycle costs. These points along with the development of floating wind farms with a large number of turbines will bring down the costs.

Acteon companies can assist with optimising costs for site investigation, mooring and installation costs, as well as ongoing operational costs such as integrity management and intelligent inspections.

The next few years will be key in ascertaining new technologies and reassuring the industry that floating wind is indeed the future.
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