The government has provided a loan of £2.8 million to a Netherlands-based wind turbine company to build and test in Fife a two-bladed turbine which could cut offshore wind developments by up to 35%.
Recognised as potentially game-changing technology, the 2-B Energy concept bucks the trend toward the more conventional three-bladed horizontal axis onshore wind technology currently being deployed offshore.
Its revolutionary design significantly reduces the number of components required throughout the lifetime of the turbine, which should result in significantly lower operation and maintenance costs.
In April 2012 when he first announced the state-aid support by Scottish Enterprise, First Minister Alex Salmond said that two-blade turbines could potentially cut offshore wind development costs by up to 45%
The loan to 2-B Energy has been provided by the UK Department of Energy’s Offshore Component Technologies Scheme, aimed at leveraging substantial amounts of private sector investment for winning offshore wind technologies and to enable them to move to commercial deployment.
The loan is part of an overall private sector investment of £27 million will help 2-B Energy to grow its business plan both in the Netherlands where a single onshore unit will be constructed and tested by 2015, and accelerate the company’s growth in Scotland, where two full scale units will be tested just off the coast of Methil.
Mikael Jakobsson, chief operating officer, 2-B Energy, said: “There is clearly a need to significantly cut costs if offshore wind is to become sustainable. Our state-of-the-art design has potential to be a significant contributor in reaching this goal, and with this new injection of funding we will be able to really drive forward our ambitious business plans both in Holland and Scotland.
Meanwhile Glasgow-based Sgurr Controls Ltd also secured a £670,000 loan to develop a control system that will reduce the stress placed on turbine blades. The aim is to increase the lifetime of wind turbines and reduce the cost of energy. The project will be led by SgurrControl in partnership with Romax Technology Ltd and Blaaster Wind Technologies.
And in another boost for Scotland’s wind-ustry, experts from Strathclyde University are to work in partnership with High Voltage Partial Discharge Ltd after being awarded a £900,000 loan to develop and trial a new type of monitoring technology that will provide early warning of faults in HVDC cables.