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RWE collaborates with Sarens and Tugdock to investigate innovative floating wind deployment and integration solutions for the Celtic Sea

RWE, Wales’ largest renewable energy generator, has funded a study to investigate the quayside offload and launch of two types of floating offshore wind platforms – one steel and one concrete – alongside the integration of next generation wind turbine generators onto these platforms. Their aim is to maximise local supply chain opportunities by utilising local port infrastructure such as that at Port Talbot and Milford Haven (two of Wales’ deepest ports).

The study will consider the use of this innovative solution at the Port Talbot facility in South Wales, run by Associated British Ports. This is being upgraded to facilitate manufacturing, assembly, and integration of floating offshore wind turbines. The study outcomes will build on previous studies including one undertaken using the Port Of Milford Haven Marine Simulator. The resulting information will inform activities at other suitable ports in the region, such as the Port of Pembroke, owned and managed by Port of Milford Haven Authority.

The study will investigate using Sarens’ established crane and barge technology alongside Tugdock’s innovative submersible platform utilising a hybrid of both approaches.

These technical solutions will look to address the logistical challenges ports will face in order to accommodate commercial-scale floating offshore wind deployment. A variety of land and marine equipment will be considered to manoeuvre structures into the water offering novel solutions to the fast-growing floating offshore wind industry.

RWE is one of the world’s leading offshore wind companies, and has pioneered the development of offshore wind in the UK for more than two decades. The company is now pursuing the Crown Estate’s UK Round 5 seabed auction to secure at least 1 gigawatt of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea – an area bordered by the coasts of South Wales, South West England and South East Ireland.

Sarens, a global leader in large crane fleet services, heavy lifting and engineering transport, is using their extensive experience and knowledge to seek new innovation solutions to solve future deployment problems.

Tugdock, a Cornish-based company, has developed an innovative technology which combines a steel frame and patented air lift bags to act either as additional buoyancy or as a submersible platform for lifting or launching heavy marine structures. With an effective load capacity of up to 25,000 tonnes and a modular design, the technology can be easily transported by road and is well placed to support the deployment of commercial-scale floating wind.

Sarens and Tugdock announced their new collaboration earlier this year.

The Celtic Sea has some of the best wind resources in Europe and is a key focus for the Crown Estate in the development of new floating offshore wind capacity. RWE is currently investigating various floating wind technologies and floating wind seabed leases around the world, to provide the most appropriate means of generation for these prospective gigawatt-scale projects.

Philippa Powell, the Celtic Sea Project Director at RWE said: “We are set to participate in the upcoming Crown Estate’s UK Round 5 seabed auction. Commercial scale floating wind leasing offers the potential for multi-billion pound investment into the region; innovation is one of the key mechanisms that we are pursuing to try to ensure that the potential of this opportunity is realised locally.

“Working with Sarens and Tugdock is another example of our approach to identify local suppliers to help unlock the huge potential offered by seabed leasing in the Celtic Sea. We see huge potential in a combined Sarens-Tugdock solution, that is flexible and exportable.”

Carl Sarens, Director of Technical Solutions, Projects & Engineering at Sarens, added: “This is the perfect start to our new partnership with Tugdock. It is great to see such a prestigious company as RWE showing confidence in our innovative approach. We are excited to be working with RWE to help accelerate the deployment of floating offshore wind technology in the Celtic Sea.”

Lucas Lowe-Houghton, Director of Strategy and Growth at Tugdock said: “The sheer scale of floating offshore wind turbines and their sub-structures creates a significant logistical challenge for ports around the world, many of which are constrained by size, water depth or tidal range. Our unique technology has been designed to meet this challenge head on.”

Beyond the Celtic Sea, RWE’s ambition is to safely develop, build and operate cost-competitive commercial-scale floating projects around the world. To gain early experience, RWE has actively participated in two high-profile demonstration projects and has secured a commercial-scale floating offshore wind lease off the California coast. RWE is also exploring floating wind opportunities in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas.
Source: RWE

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