Diving into the world of Floating Wind

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Why Floating Wind

The world needs to significantly increase the amount of renewable energy that it generates.

However, in many regions, the coastal water depths are too great for the deployment of seabed-fixed offshore wind. This is where floating wind is important, as it can be deployed in much greater water depths.

But what is floating wind and how does it work? Those are the questions this page aims to answer. You can also find out more about floating offshore wind in general here and RWE’s floating wind projects in development here. If you have any further questions please get in touch here.

What is floating wind?

Floating wind is a method of generating clean renewable energy from the wind out at sea. It uses a similar technology to conventional offshore wind turbines that are installed today.

However, whereas those are fixed to the sea-bed, these offshore turbines are secured on top of a floating foundation. These foundations provide buoyancy and stability and come in various designs suited for different locations.

If you are new to floating wind, watch this animation to understand the basics!

How do they float?

A floating foundation and turbine weighs thousands of tonnes but always needs to be up-right and buoyant. There are generally five ‘types’ of foundations which are in use:

  1. Spar Buoy
  2. Suspended Counter-weight
  3. Barge
  4. Semi-submersible and
  5. Tension Leg Platform.

You want to know how they float (and don’t fall over)? You'll get all answers in our animation.

How do they stay in place?

We don’t want our turbines drifting away from our site, so we have to make sure they stay in place. Floating turbines are kept in place using a 'station-keeping system', which is made up of mooring lines and anchors.

A lot of the technology that will be used in floating wind station keeping has a long history of use in the shipping and oil and gas industries. As such, there is already significant amounts of experience and expertise, although floating wind will present its own specific challenges that need to the addressed. 

Find out more about how we do it by watching our animation.

How are floating wind projects built?

It takes a lot of planning and work to build a floating wind project.

The floating foundations are largely made of steel or concrete and are usually fabricated and assembled on the quay site of large ports using heavy lift machinery and cranes whilst the parts of the wind turbine are usually manufactured elsewhere and shipped to the port.

Find out the main steps involved in the video.

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Image credits: TetraSpar Demonstrator ApS 

Floating Offshore Wind

Questions on this topic


We are happy to answer your questions about Floating Offshore Wind and our projects.

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Chris Willow

Head of Floating Development