EDF Renewables has confirmed plans to use floating turbines in the next phase of the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator. Once completed, the project would be among the first projects of its kind in English waters*
The first phase of the windfarm consists of five wind turbines and was constructed in 2017. It has a generating capacity of 41.5 MW and was the first UK offshore windfarm to utilise float and submerge gravity base foundations, as well as 66-kV rated inter array and export cables to connect the turbines to an onshore substation.
EDF Renewables said it is working on project planning for phase two with a consent variation and procurement activities underway to use the Blyth site to install up to five further turbines. This would be in an already identified array location 14 km from the shore in water depths of around 55 m.
The capacity for phase two has still to be finalised, but the current consent for the demonstrator is for a maximum of 99.9 MW, leaving a remaining capacity of 58.4 MW.
The turbines to be installed in Phase Two project will be constructed on floating substructures. The project has yet to select the key contractors including the turbine supplier but a range of floating technology options are being considered, with the final design still to be determined by further detailed engineering studies.
A key requirement of the project is to demonstrate innovative technology that has potential to reduce the cost of offshore wind – floating and fixed – in future. As a result, EDF Renewables is working closely with suppliers and research organisations including the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to ensure these technologies and approaches are fully explored and incorporated where appropriate.
EDF Renewables director of offshore wind Michele Schiavone said, “We are excited about this next phase of the Blyth demonstrator and want to further the demonstration of construction and operation of floating turbines to show that floating wind is technically feasible and cost competitive in water depths of 50-60 m.
“With the contract for difference mechanism providing a potential route to market, we are confident that floating turbine technology can accelerate the UK’s journey to a net zero future where clean energy powers all our lives. We will use the project to support the further development of this emerging technology.
The development timescale for Phase Two has not yet been finalised. However, subject to detailed programming, the target is for it to be fully commissioned by Q2 2025.
*A floating windfarm - Hywind Scotland - is already operational in the UK, in Scottish waters.