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ENERGIX-Stort program energi

4SWIND: Advancing seismic seabed survey techniques and optimizing site-selection for offshore wind farms.

Alternative title: 4SWIND: Avanserte seismiske havbunnsundersøkelser for optimalisering stedsvalg for havvindparker.

Awarded: NOK 11.2 mill.

The enormous and stable wind resources in the areas off the coast of Norway have a colossal potential to be exploited by the large-scale development of offshore wind farms. The goal by 2040 isthat energy production from these offshore wind farms should amount to as much energy production as from current hydropower plants in Norway. The offshore wind farms will therefore become an important game changer in the energy transition to the green shift. These planned windfarms will offer new opportunities to the shipbuilding industry, lead to the development of new technology solutions and help to maintain employment in the offshore sector. The choice of foundation for the offshore wind turbines depends both on the water depth and the type of ground conditions on the seabed. Knowledge of the type of deposit and geological/ geotechnical properties in the top 50-100 m of the seabed is crucial for choosing technical solutions and foundations for wind turbines. These basic conditions are challenging on the NCS because these areas have been repeatedly covered by large ice sheets and therefore contain a range of heterogeneous properties. The bottom conditions and properties for foundations therefore vary greatly from place to place. Because 20-30% of the investment costs for the construction of offshore wind turbines are related to the foundation, it is critical to have a solid geological/ geotechnical knowledge of the bottom conditions in order to make plans for the most cost-effective way to develop wind farms. The research project has as its overall aim to improve and develop new methods for integrated investigations for these areas and to contribute to better planning and a more cost-effective way of building out these offshore wind farms. Based on available and new data, detailed conceptual models will be developed for the areas dedicated for offshore wind farms. These models will form the basis for the best foundation solutions for these fields.

Declining costs of offshore wind and abundant wind resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) contrasts with increasing climate risks, possible carbon taxes and decreasing size of hydrocarbon discoveries. This points towards a future when offshore wind is more important for Norwegian employment, revenue, and energy production than hydrocarbons. However, because the NCS was recently covered by glaciers that erode and compact the substrate and deposit heterogeneous deposits, the NCS is a difficult and costly place to moor offshore wind turbines and to even investigate mooring conditions. Therefore, the 4SWIND project will 1) develop new and integrated survey methods for offshore wind sites, 2) integrate new data with existing geological, geophysical and geotechnical data to create conceptual models for typical heterogeneities relevant for mooring of wind turbines on the NCS, 3) invert the acquired data in terms of quantitative ground models, 4) create a catalogue of geotechnical properties of typical NCS landforms, and 5) create a map that shows approximate mooring conditions for wind turbines across the NCS. Furthermore, the 4SWIND project will educate >15 MSc students to be inter-disciplinary experts to fill the need for competent workforce survey and plan for the infrastructure needed for the green transition. In particular, 4SWIND will target the announced Norwegian offshore wind sites, Utsira Nord and SNII, to investigate key geological heterogeneities identified within these areas. The project will acquire integrated UHR 3D seismic data, P- and S-wave tomography data, and cone penetration (CPTu) testing. These data will be inverted using state-of-the-art and novel geophysical methods. The project includes most large academic environments and key long-term actors relevant for mooring of offshore wind in Norway and leading international academics. This will lead to a step-change in competence development relevant for offshore wind in Norway.

Funding scheme:

ENERGIX-Stort program energi