Technical risks of the upcoming offshore turbine generation (10MW+)

Philipp Stukenbrock, Pascal Sommer
8.2 Consulting AG, Hamburg, Germany


In the past decade offshore wind has become mature and project developers are able to cut the power generating costs substantially. In recent European auctions, prices for offshore wind are falling with Borssele in the Netherlands and Krieger Flak in Denmark pushing the boundaries.
However, the project development of future offshore wind farms is relying on turbines currently in a demonstration or design phase. Many project developers are struggling in order to define the best project setup and submit a competitive bid price for the upcoming action system. Besides the interfaces in an offshore wind farm, the turbine technology itself and the maintainability is a crucial factor in order to guarantee the offered bid price per kilowatt hours throughout the operation phase of the wind farm. Thus, many developers are trying to predict future developments in terms of yield, price and risks.
In order to mitigate the potential risks during construction, installation and operation of these future turbines, we analyzed the development lifecycle of offshore wind turbines from the development phase until commercial availability in order to give a solid outlook on future turbines. All major wind turbine suppliers in the European market were assessed with regard to their potential new offshore turbine generation and the corresponding timeline. Going beyond our Technology Forecast published in 2016, we investigate technical risks involved with the new technology in more detail.


In order to provide a reliable decision template, a background study on offshore turbine evolution including industry talks, interviews and the assessment of existing offshore turbines and their manufacturers are underlying this technology forecast. Furthermore, research on the general life cycle of offshore wind turbines including development phase, prototype phase, certification and commercialization has been conducted.
The results of this research have been assessed by 8.2-Experts with sound background in offshore prototype development and supervision at OEMs. Taking technological insights with regard to design review of all major offshore turbines into account the assessment of new turbine platforms will outlined.


Four different phases (Conceptual | Development | prototype | Commercial) of an offshore wind turbine are outlined for each new turbine platform. The analysis focuses on MHI Vestas, Siemens, GE Energy and Senvion.
Based on the power curve evolution of the last three generations plus latest research results of the fourth generation, we present an estimated power curve of future 10 MW turbines.
Also, we highlight technical risks related to this technology, for example in areas like manufacturing process, logistics and maintenance.


After considering the recent development paths and the industrial dynamics of the offshore wind energy industry, our presentation offers various insights what rated power future turbines will have, how their power curve might be and when they will be available. Project developers and investors involved in the new tender rounds and/or in negotiating the awarded offshore projects will be able to utilize the technology forecast to better understand the associated risks with unproven technologies and the interdependencies of the whole wind farm set up.


The result of our presentation should lower the uncertainties of project developers and investors in order to mitigate the risks associated with the new turbines types entering the market without a proven track record. We will outline different comparison criteria for the new turbine types enabling the reader to use that information during the upcoming tender rounds.