International energy consultancy DNV GL has pinpointed four market-ready technologies that together could carve at least 10% out of the cost of offshore wind power – if the industry shifts quickly to a joined-up approach to turbine design.
The cost-reduction calculation, which comes out of the company's Force (For Reduced Cost of Energy) project into the potential efficiencies of integrated design, relaxation of frequency constraints, enhanced control systems and slimline blades, suggests over €1bn ($1.35bn) in net present value terms could be saved in the next ten years.
“The cost savings identified by the Force team could be exploited by industry right now," states DNV GL executive vice president for renewables RV Ahilan.
"The problem is the misalignment between the design-risk of the changes needed and the cost-reduction reward delivered by those changes.
"Whilst the former mostly lies with the wind turbine manufacturer, the latter benefits the complete offshore wind asset. The technology is there."
DNV GL is inviting expressions of interest in a potential joint industry project (JIP) to speed up the "rapid maturation of industry practice" needed.
The collaborative approach to engineering, design and procurement put forward by DNV GL is seen as having the broader promise of changing the industry "mind-set toward building and operating offshore wind 'power stations' rather than collections of individual wind turbines", which in turn would offer up cost reduction benefits "well beyond" the 10% identified in the Force project.
DNV GL head of turbine engineering Tim Camp adds: “Ultimately, healthy levels of collaboration are as important as healthy levels of competition.
"Whilst we have made significant progress on improving supply chain competition over the last few years, it is now time that we start acting like a mature industry – embracing both collaboration and integration.”