Reach out to a reputable Geo-data provider at the outset, even before being awarded a lease, to gain an overview of the conditions at your wind farm site. Understanding site conditions is vital for creating an early-stage ground model, planning site investigations that identify ground risks and constraints, and evaluating the feasibility of foundation concepts and potential construction costs of your proposed development.
Choose your expert wisely. Do they have both local knowledge of the ground conditions and global experience in offshore development? How do they analyse and identify constraints and uncertainties before planning field acquisition programmes? Can they evaluate various Geo-data and understand the engineering implications for foundation designs?
Wind farm developments often default to specific laboratory testing programmes to characterise soil properties for each recovered sample, but this rigid approach is inefficient. Consultancy-led programmes can optimise the type, depth and frequency of tests required to address foundation considerations.
For example, if the early tests indicate little variability in the soil conditions and this is supported by the geological model, the number of tests can be reduced to accelerate progress and drive down costs. If the geological soil units are variable and contain deposits susceptible to cyclic degradation, more tests will be needed to define the soil bearing capacity for the foundation design loads.
- Design, production and installation of foundations account for up to 34 % of a wind farm’s development budget
- Around 75 % of offshore wind farms use monopile foundations – massive cylindrical steel tube structures driven or drilled into the seabed to support the wind turbines’ static and dynamic loads
- Modern monopiles can be more than 90 m long, almost 12 m in diameter and weigh between 2000 t and 3000 t