Turbine technology within offshore wind is in rapid development, but the technological developments of piling foundations in lithified seafloor present challenges.
The Neart na Gaoith (NnG) is one of several projects facing difficulties. With a hard seabed, the installation of the foundation is testing the limitations of the drilling equipment and the patience of crew and developers. The NnG project, which was scheduled to come online in 2023, is struggling with drilling and casing for the foundation pin piles and has yet to start turbine installation. Witnessing the delays to projects like NnG, one could think that a developer would be cautious to build on a lithified seafloor, though several planned offshore wind farms in Europe, the United States, and the Asia-Pacific are partially or fully located on lithified seabed. The offshore wind supply chain is accustomed to rapid technology developments, but there is much room for improvement in foundation piling. In that sense, projects like NnG may be painful for companies involved, but it should lead to more innovation.