Floating wind turbine undergoes extreme testing in Irelands’ National Ocean Test Facility

Ireland’s Offshore Wind Industry Has The Potential To Power 4.5 Million Homes Per Annum By 2030

PRESS RELEASE 7 December 2016

Pictured above, members of the offshore wind energy conference examine

MaREIs’ Ocean test facility

Cork, 30 November 2016: Waves of up to 1.1 m in height battered a scaled version of an offshore floating wind turbine in the Lir National Ocean Test Facility as part a two-day offshore wind energy conference, hosted by MaREI. More than 50 leading experts in offshore wind energy from across Europe were in Cork to discuss the findings of the €10 million LEANWIND project examining offshore wind energy.

The LEANWIND project, which is coordinated by Dr. Jimmy Murphy of MaREI, was established to examine potential cost reductions in offshore wind energy to make it competitive with other non-renewable forms of energy generation. Ireland has one of the best resources in Europe for harnessing offshore wind energy has the potential for up to 4.5GW installed capacity by 2030[1], without a significant impact on the environment. This means that Ireland’s offshore wind industry alone could power 4.5 million homes p.a.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Jimmy Murphy, MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy said: “The objective of the LEANWIND project is to provide cost reductions across the offshore wind farm life-cycle and supply chain, through the application of LEAN principles and the development of state of the art technologies and tools. The requirement for achieving cost reductions is stronger than ever and this is good news for LEANWIND as there is a real appetite for the innovations being developed in the project – these include autonomous robots for operations and maintenance tasks, novel vessel designs, use of virtual reality for crew training and a patent pending floating wind turbine.”

As part of the conference, a scaled version of the floating wind turbine was demonstrated for delegates in the wave tank of the Lir National Ocean Test Facility. The tank, which can produce waves up to 1.1 m in height, was used to show how the floating wind turbine would perform in extreme storm conditions off the west coast of Ireland.

The offshore wind industry received a significant boost this year following the announcement of a political agreement and action plan by North Sea countries on closer energy cooperation particularly in relation to offshore wind. In addition, 11 leading international energy companies have made a commitment to reduce offshore wind energy to below €80/MWh by 2025.

“We set out with a very broad and ambitious work programme for LEANWIND and it is very satisfying to see the project goals being achieved 3 years into the 4-year project. Much of the LEANWIND work is now well advanced following the development of new technologies, design tools and models that will help achieve cost reductions in the generation of offshore wind energy,” he added.

[1] SEAI Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan(OREDP),