Quick summary

The project development phase of an offshore wind farm project is anything from initial concept and choosing a site, all the way through assessing the site, measuring the wind speed, liaising with the various governmental organisations, to choosing the right wind turbines and other components for the job.  Once you have signed a contract to buy major components you are probably out of the project development phase.  Some tasks, like negotiating with governmental authorities about, for example, turbine warning lights for turbines may continue until the construction phase, but the majority of the the design and planning needs to be out of the way, so that the project costs and risks are clear before you start spending.

Belgium offshore wind farm site layout

1. Site assessment

Before you start to develop your site you need a few basic pieces of information:

  • Average and maximum wind speeds
  • Wave data
  • Water depth and range across the site
  • Sea bed conditions (is it rock or soft sand?)
  • Any restrictions e.g. cable crossings, exclusion zones

Some of this information can be approximate for early stage project feasibility work, because part of the development work over the next year or two might be to:

  • Install a met mast to get a better idea of how the wind speed varies throughout the year
  • Conduct a sea bed survey to get a good idea of the type of soil, and how the soil changes with depth
  • Employ environmental consultants to assess birds and bats in air, and marine life in the sea
  • … and many other tasks…