Spaniards raise installation game
EU-funded Elisa wind turbine project eliminates need for heavy lifting
An EU-funded project led by Spanish engineers Esteyco has unveiled a new offshore wind turbine installation process that eliminates the need for cranes or heavy-lift vessels.
The €3.6m Elisa project has developed a wind turbine system that can be completely pre-assembled and pre-commissioned in controlled harbour conditions.
The prototype comprises a gravity-based foundation, a so-called telescoping tower and a turbine and could be installed in 2017.
After being assembled onshore, the entire unit is towed into its open-water site using conventional tugboats. The platform is then ballasted to rest on the seabed and the tower is lifted through cables and conventional heavy-lift strand jacks.
The jacks start by lifting one level of the tower and then are reused to lift the next level.
The Elisa system can reduce costs by as much as 30% to 40% in comparison with the standard solutions based on jackets or monopiles, according to project engineer Jose Serna.
“Elisa will allow for drastic cost reductions in the substructure supply and in the installation costs of offshore wind energy,” Serna said.
“As a matter of fact, the cost per MW of the prototype being developed is already below current market prices, despite all the investment required in auxiliary infrastructure and means whose complete costs have been dedicated to a single unit.”
Image: Elisa Project