PRESS RELEASE February 9, 2015

Seatower Cranefree foundation for offshore wind turbines has been successfully installed at the Fécamp site in the British Channel

The company Seatower has successfully installed a new type of foundation for offshore wind turbines expected to change the industry with its unique cranefree technology. The new foundation was installed on February 9 at the Fécamp site in the British Channel and is by experts regarded as a potential game changer due to fast and efficient installation procedures without the use of offshore cranes or special purpose vessels.

The first Seatower Cranefree Gravity® foundation for offshore wind has been successfully installed in the British Channel approximately 15 km off the French coast at the Fécamp offshore site at 30 meters water depth. The installation was carried out by MT Højgaard.

Fast and efficiently, the hollow Seatower foundation was towed out to its desired position by two tugs and then deployed by letting seawater flow into the hollow foundation. The foundation was thereby fixed to the seabed by its own ballasted weight.

“We are pleased that both the manufacturing schedule and installation of the first Seatower went according to plans. This type of foundation is perfect for larger turbines and we have now demonstrated that installation can happen also during winter time and in harsh offshore conditions, which is one of many advantages that will reduce the cost of offshore wind,” says CEO and co-founder of Seatower Petter Karal.

Low Cost and Environmentally Friendly

Seatower expect that the new Cranefree Gravity® based foundation will change the offshore wind power industry due to its many advantages compared to the commonly used steel structures.

“Our foundations are less costly than conventional foundations such as steel monopiles. Seatower Cranefree Gravity® are quicker to install and less risky, as the installation involves fewer personnel in the offshore operations. Also Seatower Cranefree Gravity® is environmentally friendly. There is no noise from pile hammering or drilling during the installation process, since the hollow foundation is simply filled with sand to anchor it safely to the seabed,” explains Petter Karal.

The manufacturing and installation of the first installed Seatower Cranefree Gravity®
is executed by a consortium consisting of Seatower, Danish MT Højgaard and French Eiffage TP.

A video explaining fabrication and installation methods is available by clicking here.

The demonstrator site is located at the wind project “Parc Éolien en Mer de Fécamp” owned by the French energy company EDF Energies Nouvelles, Danish DONG Energy and German wpd Offshore.

For interviews or more information, please contact:

Niels Brix, Seatower CCO, / +45 22901325
Martin Bekker Bauer, Head of Corporate Communication, PrimeTime Communication, Copenhagen, / + 45 2615 5052

Notes for editors:

About Seatower:
Seatower is a European leading designer of foundations for offshore wind turbines. It’s unique Cranefree Gravity® technology – based on principles from the offshore oil & gas sector – allows offshore wind projects in deeper waters to be executed cost-efficiently and with minimized risk. Seatower provides turnkey installation of its foundations in partnerships with local companies close to the installation site.

PRESS RELEASE – Oslo, May, 2014

Game-changing offshore wind foundation to be demonstrated in English Channel

News summary:

The developers of the Fécamp offshore wind farm have chosen to demonstrate and install Seatower’s patented Cranefree Gravity® foundation design. The Fécamp project, being jointly developed by EDF Energies Nouvelles, DONG Energy and wpd offshore, is located 13km off the coast of Normandy.

The Fécamp demonstrator project is the final step in Seatower’s objective to move the foundation design to full-scale manufacturing and deployment.

Seatower will manage the installation project, including the demonstration of the entirely new “float-out-and-sink” offshore installation method. This means that, for the first time ever, an offshore wind foundation will be installed using only regular towing vessels.

“Our technology will ease and speed up the construction of offshore wind farms at a time when cutting costs and risks is necessary to help the sector progress to more challenging project sites,” said Seatower CEO Petter Karal. “Cranefree Gravity®foundations are generally more cost-efficient, quicker to install and less risky than current methods that use steel foundation designs. They also allow for local construction, which provides welcome economic activities to the coastal communities close to the wind farms.”

The unique installation method represents the most important aspect of the demonstration. To date, there are around 300 installed offshore wind foundations that are safely and robustly holding wind turbines in harsh maritime conditions and that, like Cranefree Gravity, are mainly made from concrete rather than steel. However, these so-called “gravity base” foundations have been installed using highly specialised crane-ships, which are typically scarce, expensive and weather-sensitive.

The Fécamp demonstration project, which is scheduled for early 2015, will showcase the technology’s game-changing installation advantages to developers of offshore wind farms across Europe, especially those with project sites that are in deep waters – more than 30 metres – and that face the challenging weather conditions typical of the North Sea.

Seatower’s technology gives offshore wind farm constructors more overall control of the installation process. Construction management can run foundation installation programmes all year round, uninterrupted by poor weather. The process can easily be sped up if necessary by increasing the number of towing vessels. Furthermore, crane-free installation does not involve noisy underwater piling, which is subject to restrictions in several jurisdictions, including “no-build” seasons when installation is prohibited for fear of noise interference with mammals.

The Fécamp foundation will be pulled around 13 kilometers by a towing vessel before being positioned and subsequently sunk in a controlled manner by gradually letting in seawater. It will be outfitted with equipment that will measure wind and other parameters on the site, as well as to provide data for future optimisation of the technology.

Eiffage, the French construction giant, which is an established manufacturer of conventional, steel-based foundations for the offshore wind sector, will fabricate the demonstrator foundation at the port of Le Havre. Seatower-partner MT Højgaard, market leader in installation of foundations for offshore wind turbines, will manage the installation proces.

Only low-cost components like concrete and standard grade steel will be used to construct the foundations. This will enable high manufacturing automation and economies of scale when the technology is commercially deployed in the near future. The commercial phase will eventually involve hundreds of gravity base foundations being produced a year.

The Seatower team has a long track record in introducing and supplying new offshore technologies. The company benefits from long-standing partnerships with several world-class offshore wind operators and a broad range of offshore suppliers.

Notes for editors

The Cranefree Gravity® foundation at Fécamp
The Cranefree Gravity® foundation at Fécamp will be deployed in water depths of around 27 metres during the first quarter of 2015. The diameter of the foundation’s base is 30 metres.
The design of Cranefree Gravity® foundations is widely patented and has been verified and approved by certification authority DNV.

A video explaining fabrication and installation methods is available by clicking here.

Fécamp offshore wind project

Fécamp is a 498MW offshore wind farm development project located around 13km off the Normandy coast. The project is being brought forward by EDF Energies Nouvelles, Danish energy company DONG Energy, independent renewables developer wpd offshore and wind turbine manufacturer Alstom.
The partners combine significant expertise in developing and running offshore wind projects. EDF Energies Nouvelles, and its parent EDF Group, have a wealth of experience in bringing forward renewable and large-scale energy projects. DONG Energy has 20 years of offshore wind experience and counts as one of the sector’s most important players with around 2000MW of offshore wind capacity in operation. wpd is an independent renewable energy producer that has been highly active in promoting the French offshore sector. Alstom is a market leader in providing technology to large infrastructure projects.

Seatower is a Norwegian-based designer of foundations for offshore wind turbines. Its cranefree technology – based on principles from the offshore oil & gas sector – allows offshore wind projects in deeper waters to be executed cost-efficiently and with minimized risk. Seatower provides turnkey installation of its foundations in partnerships with other companies.

Facts and context

Demonstrator quick facts:

The offshore wind challenge:

Offshore wind is advancing as an important source of renewable energy in Europe. At the same time, the sector faces two significant challenges to safeguard its future. First, it needs to cut costs to remain economically and politically attractive and second, wind farms need to be built further out at sea to exploit more abundant wind resource.
Cranefree Gravity® foundations have a key role to play in maintaining momentum in offshore wind by reducing costs and creating local jobs. The foundations are generally more cost-efficient, quicker to install and less prone to delays than current methods that use steel foundation designs. This is mainly because steel foundations require expensive, scarce and weather-sensitive crane ships whereas cranefree foundations employ only regular towing vessels.
Steel foundations will in general also import far more material – such as raw steel – from abroad whereas gravity base foundations are constructed using locally sourced labour and raw materials. Gravity base foundations are designed for efficient mass production close to the wind farm project. These added economic benefits further help secure political support.

Foundations – the technical challenge:

Tomorrow’s offshore wind farm will be constructed in deeper waters and further from shore using heavier turbines. There is a widespread consensus that at some point in the future it will not be possible to engineer the currently standard, preferred foundation design – the so-called steel monopile foundation – because of deeper water-depths. The technical limits of monopile foundations – essentially a long steel tube that is hammered into the seabed – will soon be reached. Therefore, many predict that most offshore wind farm developers will soon face a choice between so-called jacket foundations and gravity-base foundations.
Jacket foundations, which are typically steel structures with three or four legs, are complex to engineer and manufacture, and have to be transported and installed by specialised crane-ships. This means installation programmes can be derailed by challenging weather conditions or unexpected technical challenges whereas cranefree gravity bases can be installed reliably all year round.
The installation of gravity bases also generates far lower underwater noise impacts during installation than steel alternatives that rely on underwater piling. This can damage and displace marine mammals and certain fish species. Choosing gravity base makes it easier to comply with increasingly strict environmental regulations and does not need complex mitigation measures. A recent comparative study on this issue by the Offshore Wind Gravity Foundations Interest Group is available here.
General information on the Offshore Wind Gravity Foundation Interest Group, of which Seatower is a member, is available here.

The Seatower approach:

Seatower offers turnkey foundation solutions to wind farm developers. This means Seatower arranges the design, manufacture and installation of its Cranefree Gravity® base foundations concept to companies that manage the construction of wind farm projects. Cranefree Gravity® technology and installation methods have been thoroughly verified and certified by DNV and are protected by numerous international patents.
The European market for deep-water foundations is large. Between 7000 and 8000 foundations will be installed in water depths of over 35 metres in projects that are currently planned in the UK and Germany alone. Seatower, which has significant in-house expertise and experience, is confident it can capture a significant chunk of this market.
Seatower partners include Denmark’s MT Højgaard, the company that has installed the most offshore wind foundations to date, as well as Scotland’s Morrison Construction, which has a long history of delivering large infrastructural projects.

Read Seatower partner MT Højgaard’s press release here: