The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme, a joint industry and Scottish and UK government research and development scheme, brings together nine offshore wind developers with over 72% (31GW) of the UK’s licensed capacity.
The project aims to deliver the 10% reduction in time for offshore wind developments in Scottish waters with partners working together to identify technological challenges and prioritising those with the most significant savings potential, before developing innovative solutions.
The wind turbine industry is beset by problems of competing technologies and non-knowledge sharing and there have been calls for an oil and gas style ‘Wood Review’ to encourage the wind-ustry to collaborate to greater benefit for all.
The nine offshore wind developers are: DONG Energy, E.On, Mainstream Renewable Power, RWE Innogy, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.
The OWA will receive £200,000 in 2014/15 and £2,000,000 in 2015/16. The money will be used to:
Encourage international collaboration between the world’s leading offshore wind developers to address cost reduction challenges in Scottish waters
Share knowledge on foundations and installations, operations and maintenance, the best wind farm layouts, electrical systems and cable installation
Support the commercialisation of floating offshore wind turbines for Scottish waters
Following a meeting with representatives of the Carbon Trust and OWA programme in Aberdeen, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Scotland is admired around the world for our work in renewable energy and in 2013 we set a new record for renewables generation, emphasising our commitment.
“That progress has accelerated into 2014 with new record levels of renewables generation in the first months of this year – up 56% over the year to the first quarter of 2014.
“The Scottish Government’s target is to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020, as part of a wider, balanced, energy mix – and we are already nearly half way there.
“Renewable energy is extremely valuable to Scotland’s economy, to reducing our carbon emissions and in providing low carbon energy supplies as well as jobs and long term investment. It also helps keep the lights on across these islands at a time when Ofgem is warning of a tightening gap between electricity supply and demand south of the border.
“Scotland is home to around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource and we are keen to support its development as part of our energy mix. Our support for the Offshore Wind Accelerator further highlights Scotland’s position as a global leader in renewables development.”
Tom Delay, Chief Executive, Carbon Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to drive further cost reductions in the offshore wind industry. The sector has huge potential to generate low carbon power and create economic value.
“Key to that success will be driving costs down through innovation and doing this quickly. The OWA and this new injection of funding will be key to help meet this cost reduction challenge.”
A spokesman for Scottish Renewables Ltd commented: “Offshore wind holds huge opportunities for Scotland, and the industry is very clear that cost reductions are absolutely central to our long term success.”