UK Offshore Wind Sector Charts Out Innovation Roadmaps

The Offshore Wind Innovation Hub (OWIH) has launched a guide to the future priorities and opportunities for innovation that will help the sector achieve the goal of having 30GW of offshore wind capacity in the UK by 2030.

The four technology challenge areas, presented as Innovation Roadmaps, set out the needs and priorities for the UK’s offshore wind industry to provide government and industry with clear guidance on the route to achieving the sector’s targets to supply one third of the country’s electricity from offshore wind by 2030.

The four challenges areas – Turbines, Substructures, Operations & Maintenance and Windfarm Lifecycle, and Electrical Infrastructure – are designed to cover all aspects of the construction, operations and maintenance of offshore wind farms and build on previous innovation prioritisation work undertaken in the sector, such as the Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework.

The challenge areas align closely with the government’s Industrial Strategy and have been developed in close collaboration with industry and academia by OWIH, an initiative delivered jointly by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network.

The Roadmaps aim to identify areas for innovation that can reduce the levelised cost of energy for offshore wind. They will provide government and industry with a single, validated source of information on the key challenges and innovation priorities within the UK offshore wind sector; highlight to innovators and the supply chain potential market opportunities; and demonstrate to funders and potential challenges applicants those technology areas that have a demand for innovation.

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Research & Innovation Director at ORE Catapult and Co-Chair of the Hub’s Technical Advisory Group, said: “Innovation is at the heart of developing a strong UK supply chain and capitalising on the global growth of the offshore wind sector. The technology challenge roadmaps published today by the OWIH clearly signpost where the industry should be focussing its innovation effort to continue to drive down costs and maximise on these opportunities.”

The Innovation Hub will now work with industry to issue specific technology challenges in each Challenge area, providing clear routes to market for supply chain companies with innovative solutions. To date, seven specific innovation challenges have been issued, working with two industry partners. These have resulted in 72 solutions being proposed from 53 different companies. The most promising of these are now being further developed for application.

“The technology challenges are designed to provide an impartial sector-wide view of the priority innovation areas for offshore wind. They add value to the industry, the supply chain, and academia by highlighting where technology innovation efforts should be focused,” Ray Thompson, Head of Business Development for Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Limited and fellow Co-Chair, said.

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