New multi-million offshore wind technology centre launched


NEW multi-million pound national Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence has been launched by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to help develop new offshore wind technologies.

“Our team of innovation experts and engineers will work across industry and academia to accelerate floating offshore wind technology deployment and de-risk and encourage innovation to ensure we deliver UK economic benefit from the global growth of floating offshore wind – growing local supply chains and delivering UK content and jobs”, Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s Operational Performance Director, said.

“We’ve already had strong interest from more than 10 offshore wind developers, including Total, Equinor 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 and Opportunity North East (ONE).”

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
  • Site characterisation of Atlantic Approaches and Celtic Sea

The initiative is backed by up to £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.

According to International Energy Agency estimates, the next generation of floating turbines could generate enough energy to meet the world’s total electricity demand 11 times over in 2040.

ORE Catapult states that the advancement of floating wind technologies is seen as vital if the UK is to deliver on its offshore wind growth target of 30 gigawatts by 2030 and meet the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation of 75 gigawatts by 2050.

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 £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 recognise the vital role that floating offshore wind will play in our future energy system as we continue our transition to a net zero economy and we strongly support this innovative technology.

“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”, Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Energy Minister, said at the project launch.

“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.”