Feasibility of Floating Platform Systems for Wind Turbines

Walt Musial, Sandy Butterfield, Andrew Boone

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

159 Scopus Citations


This paper provides a general technical description of several types of floating platforms for wind turbines. Platform topologies are classified into multiple- or single-turbine floaters and by mooring method. Platforms using catenary mooring systems are contrasted to vertical mooring systems and the advantages and disadvantages are discussed. Specific anchor types are described in detail. A rough cost comparison is performed for two different platform architectures using a generic 5-MW wind turbine. One platform is a Dutch study of a tri-fioater platform using a catenary mooring system, and the other is a mono-column tension-leg platform developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Cost estimates showed that single unit production cost is $7.1 M for the Dutch tri-floater, and $6.5 M for the NREL TLP concept. However, value engineering, multiple unit series production, and platform/turbine system optimization can lower the unit platform costs to $4.26 M and $2.88 M, respectively, with significant potential to reduce cost further with system optimization. These foundation costs are within the range necessary to bring the cost of energy down to the DOE target range of $0.05/kWh for large-scale deployment of offshore floating wind turbines.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2004
Event2004 ASME Wind Energy Symposium: 42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit - Reno, Nevada
Duration: 5 Jan 20048 Jan 2004


Conference2004 ASME Wind Energy Symposium: 42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit
CityReno, Nevada

Bibliographical note

For preprint version including online full-text document, see NREL/CP-500-34874

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-500-36504


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