Offshore wind has become a key cornerstone of global efforts to decarbonize electricity production; to date, however, efforts have been restricted to areas with relatively shallow water depths (less than 50 metres), securing the turbines to the seabed using large deep-drilled pile foundations.
In deeper waters, the turbine must be mounted on a floating structure. This expands the potential scope for siting decisions.
It is estimated that in Europe, 80% of the potential offshore wind resource is found in waters of 60 metres or deeper (WindEurope, 2017), where winds are typically stronger than in shallow waters. Work by the Energy Technology Institute (ETI’s) as part of their Offshore Wind Programme highlighted that floating offshore wind has the potential to represent a significant proportion of the UK’s low carbon energy source, consisting of a safe and secure option which would also be very cost-effective (ETI, 2015). However, ETI emphasized that demonstration projects will need to be developed soon to enable the large-scale deployment of floating wind in the UK by the mid 2020s.
The purpose of the Llŷr Offshore Wind Demonstration Project is to provide a facility to demonstrate new floating wind technologies at a scale of greater than 12MW per turbine. Each Llŷr project location will consist of 6 to 8 turbines.
The details of the technologies to be deployed will be provided following the issue of the test and demonstration lease from the Crown Estate.