Northland Power said it will scrap plans for a world-first installation of two next-generation mono-bucket foundations at the Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm, confirming earlier warnings that unspecified “technical issues” could scupper the project.
Northland – which first warned in February that the demonstrator project could be in peril – said on Tuesday it had decided to call it off. “An evaluation of the cause of the technical issues is underway and will not be completed until mid-year.
“Due to the timing issues associated with the technical review, among other considerations, Northland has elected to permanently forego the installation of the demonstrator project,” the Canadian power group said.
Northland in January booked a non-cash impairment of $98m against the demonstrator, which was designed to be the first commercial outing for the pioneering Universal Foundation-developed mono-buckets as part of the Canadian group’s wider 269MW Deutsche Bucht in the German North Sea, which has been operating since 2019.
The mono-bucket foundations, which set off on their journey to the project site in November, were supposed to support a pair of 8.4MW MHI Vestas V164 turbines to join those on the other 31 monopile foundations at Deutsche Bucht.
The Deutsche Bucht mono-buckets, each weighing 1,100 tonnes, were designed with a base diameter of 18.5 metres, with skirts to penetrate 16.5-18.5 metres into the project site’s predominantly sandy seabed.
UF’s branded Mono Bucket concept, which has hollow, cylindrical steel base that embeds into the seafloor using a combination of suction pressure, gravity and ‘smart’ installation techniques, has been in development since 2001 via prototypes, including a 3MW turbine-topped unit in Frederikshavn, Denmark, and met-mast installations for projects including the UK’s multi-gigawatt Dogger Bank development .
Danish developer Orsted installed a three-legged suction-bucket foundation at the Borkum Riffgrund 1 wind farm in the German North Sea in 2014 and Vattenfall used the technology at Aberdeen Bay in the UK