The three most common floating platform concepts in the offshore wind industry are spar-buoy, tension-leg platform, and semi-submersible. Although there are additional concepts in the design and development phase, most designs are variations of these three concepts.
Developers should consider the pros and cons of these platforms before trying to implement a completely new design.
A hybrid floating platform that combines the best features of tension-leg and semi-submersible platforms eliminates some of the drawbacks of other floating wind platform concepts while allowing wind farms to be placed in deeper waters (potentially as much as 600 meters or more). They also allow the platforms themselves to move vertically and horizontally with the wind and the waves. Rethinking the platform and mooring system designs could dramatically decrease the tonnage of steel and concrete needed, allowing for lighter, more reliable structures.
These lighter, smaller, efficient designs will allow for easier installation and commissioning—meaning standard-sized harbors, tugs, and cranes can all be used to construct all of the components and transport them to the site of the wind farm.
Implementing designs that address improvements to the turbines, platforms, and mooring systems will lead to increased effectiveness and longevity, which allows for less maintenance—meaning less risk and greater safety for the workers maintaining and repairing them. Additionally, turbine, platform, and mooring components in smaller, lighter structures can be brought into the harbor or shipyard for repairs and replacements, creating greater efficiency.