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Costain Alliance Offers Renewable Power Solution

19 August 2010

As the Government increases its efforts to curb carbon emissions from the power generation sector, Costain is aiming to win a stake in the renewable energy market.

Offshore windfarms offer the prospect of more predictable and consistent weather conditions than their onshore counterparts, together with fewer problems in gaining planning permission. However, constructing them in an offshore environment is more technically challenging.

Costain has teamed up with Hochtief and Arup in a new alliance. This will seek to design and build the offshore installations that are anticipated to spring up over the next decade.

These installations will, in a large proportion of the zones, require large concrete  structures, known as gravity base foundations, sitting on the seabed and into which the wind turbines can be attached. This is where Costain comes in, explains the Director in charge of the Group's efforts in the sector, Colin Duff.

Bidding concluded this year between various developers and energy providers and the Crown Estates (which owns the rights to the seabed around the UK) for 'Round 3' of the licences that will allow companies access to the seabed to install the wind turbines.
 
"If everybody develops the sites they say they're going to - and that depends on how far they take Round 3, what happens to other forms of energy and our use of energy - the offshore market could be worth £200billion by 2020. The foundation element of that is £50billion," says Duff.

A gravity base foundation would be a flask-shaped concrete structure 30-40 metres in diameter, 60-70 metres tall and weighing around 6,000 tonnes.

Winning contracts: "Will come down to having an affordable, deliverable solution," says Duff. "The most efficient way of achieving this is by setting up a manufacturing facility to mass produce the gravity base foundations."

To meet the aspirations of the government in terms of their targets for renewable energy production - of which offshore wind is a major part - the facility will have to be capable of producing a unit every two to three days

The consortium is currently assessing suitable sites for port facilities to produce the foundations. They would be constructed by a slipforming process operating round the clock.

• A renewable energy conference in Liverpool at the end of June saw the consortium making a presentation and taking a stand in order to further develop its relationships with its potential customers involved in Rounds 2 and 3 of the offshore bidding process. In July the consortium, along with Martin Land, Power Sector Director, gave a presentation at a Costain-sponsored Renewables event in London, emphasising Costain's capability to deliver multi-discipline projects for power generation infrastructure.

 

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