EMEC and West of Orkney Partner on New Offshore Wind R&I Programme

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has started a new research and innovation (R&I) programme in partnership with the West of Orkney wind farm offshore Scotland.

The new R&I project will examine how to increase the competitiveness of the offshore wind farm and enhance the R&I capacity in the north of Scotland.

Specific challenges that the offshore wind project could face include its exposed location, environmental impacts, and increased remote operation.

EMEC said that it will review the offshore wind R&I landscape, and map this against the needs of the project and capabilities across the region, with the goal of delivering the project more efficiently and cost-effectively.

The findings will inform the development of a longer-term project-specific R&I programme which EMEC will deliver in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, including the local supply chain.

EMEC work programme is part of a wider West of Orkney Windfarm initiative to support the offshore wind supply chain locally, in Scotland, and across the UK.

This will be enabled by a GBP 105 million investment initiative, which could be boosted to GBP 140 million by third parties, in advance of a Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2026.

This partnership programme enables us to draw on EMEC’s considerable expertise and will ensure that local experience and data feeds into the project, building upon the cluster of business and academia that are active in the north of Scotland. At the same time, the programme will leverage EMEC’s network and experience to deliver local content and actively promote economic growth”, said Mike Hay, West of Orkney WindFarm General Manager.

A consortium of Corio Generation, TotalEnergies, and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) secured the rights as part of the ScotWind seabed leasing round in January to develop the 2 GW West of Orkney offshore wind project.

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Both fixed-bottom foundations and floating substructures are currently being considered and the developers expect the wind farm to begin producing renewable power by 2030.

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The consortium said in September 2021 that it had already carried out extensive site investigations, including birds, marine mammals, and near-shore geophysical surveys, and finalised a grid connection agreement with National Grid.

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EMEC commercial director Matthew Finn said that the team had already been working with the project over the past two years to support its early developmental phases.

“With the West of Orkney Windfarm just 30 km west of EMEC’s Billia Croo test site, we believe it provides an ideal pathway for emerging technologies to scale up and move out into the harsh waters around us”, said Finn.

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