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Floating wind turbine standard could create BRIC industry for sector, says project leader

DNV KEMA says its standard to develop new generation of floating wind turbines could help progress technology, encourage investment and provide local manufacturing in BRIC countries

The new standard from DNV KEMA aims to accelerate the development of a new generation of floating wind turbines

A new standard to develop floating wind turbines could help BRIC countries grow an industry in the sector, the project leader has said. Norway company DNV KEMA has released the standard, which aims to accelerate the development of a new generation of floating offshore wind turbines. But the company said the benefits of the floating wind power standard could go further by helping BRIC countries progress in wind turbine technology, cut costs, encourage investment and provide local manufacturing.

DNV KEMA, the energy arm of Norway managing risk services provider DNV, said the floating wind turbines standard has been developed as a Joint Industry Project (JIP) with 10 leading wind power companies, including Alstom, Statoil and Gamesa.

Johan Sandberg, head of renewable energy at DNV KEMA, Norway and project sponsor, said: "It will help [the BRICS] through general floating wind turbine technology development, which will lead to cost reductions. It could also help facilitate local manufacturing."

If BRIC countries, namely Brazil, China and India, have "the right ambitions" Sandberg said the standard could have a major impact on their large-scale wind power developments in the future.

"If they have the right ambitions it could have a large effect on their renewable energy developments," he said. "It could give them the option to build large-scale wind power close to the consumption centres."

He added he is hopeful "all" BRIC countries will benefit from the floating wind standard.

Confidence in floating wind

The major development for floating wind power follows sector news such as the deployment of the world's first concrete composite floating wind turbine platform, in the US, early this month. The DNV's standard for the floating wind sector also comes after the company unveiled work to develop concepts for floating solar power back in December 2012.

In response to the fast-expanding offshore wind market, DNV KEMA said it has developed the standard for floating wind power to help accelerate the development of a new generation of floating offshore wind turbines by establishing design requirements for floating structures and related systems.

The standard also aims to help ensure safety and reliability in floating wind turbines, and give the wind energy industry the confidence to attract new investors to the sector and continue its development to commercial maturity.

Sandberg said: "As demand for wind energy increases, we predict offshore deployments will continue to move into deeper waters and, consequently, there's a need to establish design standards that will help ensure safety, reliability, and confidence in future wind turbines. To that end, the new standard aims to spur progress in floating offshore wind through a framework for best practices and technical requirements, plus producing guidance for design, construction and in-service inspection.

"It is now time to take the next step: standardisation. A new standard can increase the confidence in the industry and hopefully attract new investors to this new renewable energy technology," he said.

The 10 participants in the JIP study are Statoil, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Sasebo Heavy Industries, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, Navantia, Gamesa, Iberdrola, Alstom Wind, Glosten Associates and Principle Power.