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Norway Funds Testing for Floating Wind Concept Using Multiple Turbines

Floating wind concept
Windcatcher would have 126 wind turbines on a single frame to improve efficiency of float wind installations (Enova)

Published Oct 17, 2022 6:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norway is providing funding for the initial testing of a novel concept for multi-turbine floating structures designed to make floating wind more productive and economical. Enova, an investment company owned by Norway’s Ministry of Climate and the Environment, is providing the grant for a project scheduled to run till 2023 to test and verify the wind turbine to be used in the pilot project for the Windcatcher.

Start-up company Wind Catching Systems is developing the Windcatcher, a floating wind power plant based on a multi-turbine design. By placing multiple turbines on a single structure, the company says it can solve challenges including dramatically reducing the space required for each MWh of electricity produced as well as the cost and maintenance challenges for floating wind projects.

The concept for the Windcatcher calls for the installation of 126 wind turbines each generating 1 MW for a combined output of 126 MW with a frame measuring approximately 1,000 by 1,200 feet. The company points out that they would generate five times the amount of power versus the traditional wind turbine which each has an output of 8 to15 MW.  The company points out that five of its frames could provide the same power as 25 conventional floating wind turbines.

“This project challenges the conventional technology for offshore wind,” said Nils Kristian Nakstad, CEO of Enova SF. “Our mission is to support technology development and we will follow Wind Catching Systems with interest going forward.” 

Enova has awarded Wind Catching Systems a $2.1 million grant to support the design and testing of the wind turbine that Wind Catching Systems plans to install in its floating multi-turbine structure. The grant will fund the design, construction, and testing of a wind turbine pilot planned at Mehuken wind park on the West Coast of Norway. The company has applied for a temporary license at the Mehuken wind farm and plans to install a turbine for testing and certification in 2023.

After the verification testing, the company plans a pilot project to build a scaled-down version of Windcatcher. It would have a minimum of seven turbines for verification of the concept before the company builds full-scale units.

“The government has big ambitions for offshore wind,” said Climate and Environment Minister Espen Barth Eide. “If we succeed in bringing down the costs of floating offshore wind, offshore wind can become an important source of renewable energy and a major industrial opportunity for Norway.”

The Norwegian government has set ambitious targets for the development of offshore wind. By 2040, Norway must have allocated areas where a total of 30,000 MW of offshore wind can be built. The development of wind power on the Norwegian continental shelf will be important to meet the growing demand for renewable power and that development will depend on the use of floating wind turbines.