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New government support for UK floating offshore wind projects
Companies and consortia from across the UK are to receive funding to develop new technologies to enable floating offshore wind turbines to be deployed in the windiest parts of Britain’s seas.
Some £32mn from the government is expected to be matched by more than £30mn from industry to accelerate the deployment of wind turbines in deeper water, boosting the UK’s renewable energy capacity by expanding wind farms to areas where wind speeds are at their highest.
The 11 projects focus on solutions such as mooring turbines to the seabed, improving undersea cabling and developing new floating ‘foundations’. In receipt of the largest sum, at £10mn, SenseWind, Geodis FF, Xodus Group and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult aim to combine a floating foundation, an innovative seabed anchoring system and monitoring technology to produce a 2 MW or larger turbine.
Copenhagen Offshore Partners, SSE Renewables, Maersk Supply Service Subsea and Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group will receive £9.6mn to develop and demonstrate new technologies for mooring systems, cable protection, floating turbine bases and an advanced digital monitoring system. Meanwhile, Marine Power Systems is the sole recipient of almost £3.5mn for the development of a floating foundation with improved power quality through the integration of a wave energy generator.
Other organisations receiving a cash boost through the Floating Offshore Wind Demonstration Programme include the University of Southampton, AWC Technology and Cerulean Winds. These initiatives have bases across the UK, including Aberdeen, Swansea and Yorkshire. The UK is already home to the world’s largest deployment of offshore floating wind, the 50 MW Kincardine project.
This Floating Offshore Wind innovation funding announcement follows in the wake of Crown Estate Scotland’s successful first step application for ScotWind Leasing that could see 17 new wind projects with almost 25 GW in generating capacity added to the UK’s renewable portfolio.
RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail welcomed the news: ‘Today’s announcement will help the UK to develop floating wind technology faster and bring down costs for consumers. The UK is currently the biggest market in the world for this cutting-edge technology and other countries are following our lead. Investing in innovation is vital to build up a UK supply chain that can meet the needs of our domestic market and seize the global opportunities that floating wind offers.’
Photo: Marine Power Systems