UK Gets Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence

The UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has launched a new national Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence to drive forward the development of next-generation offshore wind technologies.

The initiative is backed by up to GBP 500,000 funding each from the Scottish Government and the Catapult’s Welsh-based Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE), match funding from industry and active support from Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

The aim is to develop an internationally recognised centre of excellence that will work to reduce the cost of energy from floating wind, accelerate the build-out of floating farms, create opportunities for the UK supply chain, and drive innovations in manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance.

‘Scotland’s unique deep-water profile and significant expertise in oil and gas mean we are exceptionally well placed to take advantage of the huge economic opportunity presented by early adoption of commercial scale floating projects,” Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said.

“The Scottish Government is delighted to support ORE Catapult’s Floating Wind Centre of Excellence to further develop this technology and drive down costs in the sector. The collaborative programme of work delivered through the Centre will ensure that Scotland remains a world leader in floating offshore wind innovation and move us closer to seeing widespread deployment in more than 462,000 km2 of seas within Scotland’s Exclusive Economic Zone.”

ORE Catapult’s Macroeconomic Benefits Report, released in September 2018, and the joint Renewable UK and Scottish Renewables Floating Wind – The UK Industry Ambition report released on 31 October, both identify Scotland, Wales and South West England as key areas that could benefit from floating offshore wind, creating 17,000 jobs and generating GBP 33.6 billion for the UK economy by 2050.

The Centre of Excellence will cover all the areas of floating wind activity in the UK aligning activity nationally and developing projects focused on regional priorities.

“We’ve already had strong interest from more than 10 offshore wind developers, including Total, Equinor, Mainstream Renewable Power and EDP Renewables, along with three UK universities, in joining the initiative, and are closely aligning the Centre’s activities with key stakeholders including Welsh Government, the Celtic Sea Cluster, Opportunity North East (ONE), the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), the Deepwind Offshore Wind Cluster, Scottish Enterprise, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Crown Estate Scotland,” Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s Operational Performance Director, said.

Eight initial projects will kick-start the Centre’s activities. These include:

  • Powering Offshore Oil Platforms Using Floating Offshore Wind Turbines;
  • Hybrid Bottom Fixed/Floating Offshore Wind Sites;
  • Grid Connection for Scottish Offshore Wind / Off Grid opportunities including H2;
  • Floating Substructures for Fabrication in Scotland;
  • Mapping Scotland’s Floating Offshore Wind Supply Chain;
  • Scottish Aquaculture and Floating Wind Synergies;
  • Mapping Cornwall and Wales Floating Offshore Wind Supply Chain; and
  • Site characterisation of Atlantic Approaches and Celtic Sea.
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