Maximizing Economic Value and Operational Efficiency in Floating Offshore Wind Energy Production

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Due:  26th Aug 2024

Challenge overview

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CHALLENGE OVERVIEW

Vattenfall, in strategic partnership with Seagust, announces a challenge through the NOW Accelerator program to enhance the economic efficiency of floating offshore wind production. This challenge targets innovations that optimize electricity production, specifically increasing Annual Energy Production (AEP), improving market value, and optimizing balancing contributions. This challenge seeks solutions that can significantly increase the profitabil

ABOUT THE SEEKER & ELIGIBILITY

Vattenfall is a major European energy player with over a century of experience in electrifying industries and modernizing lifestyles through sustainable solutions. Seagust, a recent addition to the offshore wind industry, aims to develop significant offshore wind assets with the backing of substantial industrial and financial resources. This challenge is open to global innovators from startups to established companies in the energy sector. 

CHALLENGE DETAIL

Background:

Floating offshore wind technology represents a significant advancement in renewable energy, offering the potential to harness stronger and more consistent winds found in deep-water locations that are unreachable by traditional fixed-bottom installations. However, this technology comes with its own set of economic challenges, primarily due to the higher costs involved in its deployment and maintenance. These costs stem from the complex engineering required to design floating platforms that can withstand deep-water environments and the logistics of installing and servicing these units far from shore.

The challenge aims to directly address these economic hurdles by focusing on enhancing the production and value output of electricity generated by floating offshore wind farms. The approach encompasses:

Enhancing Production Efficiency (AEP Improvement)

Annual Energy Production (AEP) is a critical measure of a wind farm's efficiency and profitability. By finding ways to increase AEP, such as through improved turbine efficiency, better positioning of the turbines to capture optimal wind speeds, or more reliable technology that reduces downtime, the challenge seeks to ensure that floating wind farms can produce more energy. Increasing AEP directly contributes to the economic viability of the projects by maximizing output and, consequently, revenue.

Optimizing Market Timing of Electricity Sales

The value of electricity is not constant and varies according to demand, with prices typically peaking during certain times of the day or year. By optimizing the timing of electricity sales—ensuring that electricity is produced and available during these peak periods—the challenge aims to enhance the market value of the energy produced. This strategy requires sophisticated forecasting and responsive operational capabilities to adjust production in real-time, aligning energy availability with market demand spikes.

Enhancing Grid Balancing Services

Balancing services are essential for the integration of wind energy into the power grid, especially given the variable nature of wind. Floating wind farms must not only produce energy but also contribute to grid stability by quickly adjusting output as wind conditions change. Innovations in this area could involve advanced control systems, energy storage solutions, or predictive analytics that allow for more precise responses to grid demands. Improving these capabilities can make floating wind farms more reliable and valuable partners in energy networks, potentially commanding premium prices for their balancing services.

This challenge emphasizes innovations that can make floating offshore wind more economically competitive with traditional fixed-bottom installations. By reducing the cost disparity through increased efficiency and optimized value capture, floating wind technology can become a more attractive option for large-scale development. The goal is to offset the inherent higher costs of floating systems by boosting their output and ensuring they deliver maximum value, thus supporting the broader adoption of this promising renewable energy technology.

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

Impact on Business and Environment:

  • Business Impact: Expected solutions should demonstrate a substantial increase in profitability through enhanced electricity production metrics. Please see the following formula for guidance: 
    Project NPV = DEVEX NPV + CAPEX NPV + OPEX NPV + AEP NPV, all scaled to 500GW windfarm and Where
    DEVEX NPV = DEVEX reduction * 0.8
    CAPEX NPV = CAPEX reduction * 0.5
    OPEX NPV = Annual OPEX reduction * 10
    AEP NPV =  Delta production [pct] * 10
     
  • Environmental and Safety Impact: Proposed solutions must adhere to high environmental and safety standards, embodying Vattenfall’s commitment to sustainable energy development.

Must-Have Requirements:

  1. Enhanced Electricity Production: Solutions must focus on tangible improvements in AEP, optimizing the value of production without shifting focus to ancillary technologies.
  2. Direct Impact on Market Value and Balancing: Proposals should demonstrate how the innovation affects market value or contributes to balancing services, providing a clear quantifiable benefit.
  3. Focused Innovation: Clearly articulated innovations that directly enhance electricity production metrics for floating wind assets.

Desirable Attributes:

  • Exclusive Focus on Electricity Production: Solutions that maintain a strict focus on optimizing electricity output without delving into broader energy applications.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

  • Business Case Impact: Primary emphasis will be on the economic benefits derived from increased AEP and its potential to alter the cost-benefit landscape of floating wind projects.
  • Team Capability: Evaluation of the team’s capacity to innovate and effect significant changes within the floating wind sector.
  • Benefit of Collaboration: Potential advantages of collaborating with Vattenfall or other developers to realize the proposed innovations.
  • Execution Strategy: Detailed assessment of the proposal’s realism, testing protocols, maturation pathway, and deployment plans.

THE PRIZE

The selected solutions will enter a strategic partnership with Vattenfall and Seagust, with the opportunity to integrate their technologies into operational floating wind farms, potentially redefining industry standards and profitability metrics.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Confidentiality: All submissions will be handled with strict confidentiality, accessible only to the challenge participants and the organizing teams.
  • Eligibility: The challenge is open to global entities with the capability to deliver scalable, impactful solutions specifically tailored to the floating offshore wind sector.

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