German firm approved to begin floating turbine fabrication

GICON Group will receive government funding for the fabrication, construction and testing of the first floating wind turbine in Germany.

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The GICON Group (Dresden, Germany) reported on April 29 that it will receive a pro-rata funding of €5.25 million from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s Ministry of Economy, Construction and Tourism for their floating offshore foundation, the GICON® SOF. The official notification of the funding confirmation secures fabrication, construction and testing of the first floating wind turbine in Germany. In total €18 million are invested.

The fabrication of the 1:1 pilot plant will start on July 1 at the Volkswerft shipyard in Stralsund, Germany. Thanks to weight- and cost-optimized planning, a material reduction of around 50 percent can be achieved, compared to earlier design versions. Deployment for extensive functional and technical testing as well as environmental monitoring is planned for mid-2015 near the existing offshore wind park Baltic I in the German Baltic Sea.

The GICON SOF for wind turbines offers a variety of advantages over conventional offshore foundations such as the possibility to exploit offshore wind resources in areas with 20m to 500m (66-ft to 1,640-ft) water depths. Such conditions are found in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. Compared to conventional bottom mounted foundations, the GICON SOF, including the mounted turbine, can be towed to and installed onsite without the need for additional installation vessels. This allows a more cost-effective construction and weather-independent deployment. The stability of the foundation and thus the mechanical demands on the turbine are similar to those of conventional offshore wind foundations.

"For nearly 2 years, the GICON Group has, at its own risk and with a significant proportion of own resources, pursued the goal to build a full-scale pilot of the GICON SOF and deploy it in the German Baltic Sea. On behalf of all team members and partners involved in the SOF development, I want to thank the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for the constructive cooperation. As a result of the funding commitment and the secured financing, we can now fully focus on the challenges ahead," says GICON’s owner and managing director, Prof. Jochen Grossmann.