Foundation design for the Polish market

Potential foundation design/ setup - challenges related to water depths, soil conditions, sea ice,

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Foundation designs for offshore wind turbine generators (WTGs) planned for the Polish market are affected by several factors. The technological development in offshore WTGs over the past few years has been so fast that Offshore Wind Farms (OWFs) under development today are planned with the a new generation of WTGs with capacities of 15 to 20 MW and rotor diameters of 220 to 285 m. Such big WTG dimensions in combination with the environmental conditions in the Polish Baltic Sea present an interesting challenge for the design of foundation structures to be applied in the near future.  The environmental conditions found in the Polish Baltic Sea include log-in effects caused by ice loads, ice ridges, high water depths up to 60 m, lateral variability of the soil conditions with weak sediments in the top layers and chalk as bedrock, but also in some locations the presence of shallow gas.

We continuously rely on state-of-the-art technology in our projects to achieve the best possible efficiency in energy generation and at the most reasonable costs for electricity production.

Given such conditions, it is expected that monopile and jacket solutions will remain the standard for foundations structures for offshore WTGs. However, as the technical development of floating offshore WTG foundations is also rapidly progressing, this foundation type should be constantly under review and potentially considered in the future for higher water depths in Polish waters.

Taking a closer look at expected changes compared to current foundation solutions due to the larger WTGs and environmental conditions described above, one particular aspect may involve the connection between the monopile and the transition piece: bolted solutions may be challenging for the new WTGs and a comeback of grouted connections could be expected. Further, new developments like extended monopiles or slip joints are being developed to reduce the levelized cost of energy.  Nevertheless, the emphasis in the Polish OWF market to promote the local content, the manufacturing of technical solutions in Poland may become a significant criterium for the ultimate selection of foundation solutions.

All these requirements will further be carefully analyzed and considered in the decision making process for future WTG foundation designs in Poland.

If you want to know more about my experience, please contact me
Jörg Thumann
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