The impressive numbers of the floating wind turbine prototype TetraSpar

One of the most promising floating wind platform designs is Stiesdal’s TetraSpar. And the truth is, looking at the numbers, it seems to be working very well.

Through its LinkedIn account, Stiesdal has shared some data from the approximately 2 and a half years that the prototype has been in operation since it was connected to the grid at the end of 2021. And they are spectacular.

  • 37 GWh of energy generated with a 54% capacity factor.
  • An availability of 97.0% in 2022, 98.3% in 2023, and 99.5% so far in 2024. This is great news considering the reliability issues that have occurred in other floating projects.
  • The capacity factor so far in 2024 is 63%.

One of the great advantages of this TetraSpar design is that it can be manufactured in an industrialized manner (in a tower or monopile factory without too many adaptations) to be later assembled in port without the need for new welds or large deployments. That is, it does not require major investments in ports, unlike other more complex platform designs to manufacture.

Interestingly, despite the spectacular data, for some reason, Stiesdal has now focused on a semi-submersible design called TetraSub. According to a LinkedIn comment from Stiesdal itself, this new design would be more suitable for projects being developed in the short term. Although I have read elsewhere that Stiesdal might have some intellectual property conflict with TetraSpar (I do not know the details).

It would be a shame if this design were abandoned (even temporarily), because undoubtedly these good availability and reliability data would surely help the bankability of the projects.

The TetraSpar prototype is installed at METCentre, Norway, and is equipped with a 3.6 MW Siemens Gamesa wind turbine with Direct Drive technology. Since its commissioning, the prototype has been collecting data, validating numerical models, supporting research and development projects, and serving as a living laboratory for the development of floating wind technology.

The project owners are TEPCO, Shell, RWE, and Stiesdal Offshore itself.

Sergio Fernández Munguía (@Sergio_FerMun)

Windletter #82