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Digital solutions have the potential to drive value through improved efficiency, reliability and output capacity in the wind-power sector.

Floating offshore wind-power is a rapidly maturing technology with the potential to become a serious contender in the global green energy portfolio. With space for onshore and offshore wind farms (in waters up to 60 feet) dwindling, floating wind farms present a viable solution to open up swathes of ocean to developers. 

Around 80% of the best offshore wind real-estate, where the winds are strongest and most consistent, is located in waters up to half a mile deep where traditional bottom-fixed wind farms become economically unfeasible. 

The EU Blue Report estimates that 3 million MW of floating offshore wind farm capacity could be installed in sea areas with a depth of more than 100 metres, generating the potential to open up new markets for wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and even the Black Sea.

The report also predicts that floating offshore wind farms could take a share of 14% of the total offshore wind market in Europe and approximately 3% of Europe’s total power supply by 2050 with an installed capacity of around 40 GW612. The world’s first full-scale floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland, is proof that the technology could be a real game-changer. 

Floating offshore wind farms are exceeding expectations 

Launched in 2017 by oil giant, Equinor, Hywind Scotland is located in more than 300 feet of water and has, for a third consecutive year, produced the highest average capacity for any wind farm in the UK. With an average capacity factor of 57.1% in the twelve month period to March 2020, Hywind has set a new record in the UK. 

However, for floating offshore wind to reach its full commercial potential it’s vital that operators embrace digital tools that can help optimize performance, boost power production and minimize downtime. Improving both efficiency and reliability, while driving down costs will be key to unlocking the full potential of floating wind farms and making them a competitive green energy solution. 

Digital twins can help increase efficiencies while driving down costs

Digital twin technologies can help achieve this by facilitating more precise and optimal planning to reduce the need for revisions and to avoid problems further down the line. During the concept and design phase, engineers can use a digital twin to analyse and predict floating wind farm asset costs for operation and management. Creating a digital field twin can also provide a better understanding how the asset will withstand varying wave power, soil and environmental conditions. 

One Oil and Gas super major, who is considered a leader in floating offshore wind farms, deployed FutureOn’s FieldTwin online platform to plan and develop the entire scope of its latest floating wind farm project, including the positioning of its assets. FieldTwin provided project teams with an interactive method to position wind farm assets over unexplored hydrocarbon fields so as to allow future access by drilling rigs. 

Our 100% cloud-based approach to field design and asset management, provides teams from different disciplines with easy access to the right data and industry tools needed to deliver a complex engineering project such as a floating offshore wind farm. 

To find out more about how FutureOn’s digital twin field products can help or for enquiries and partnership opportunities please contact us or book a demo.