A Glasgow-based British government energy business development agency is to hold a competition for wind power developers to ‘road-test’ their technology to find ways of bringing down costs.
The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult wants SMEs to compete for access to its 7MW offshore wind demonstration turbine in Fife to prove and commercialise innovative new sensing technologies.
OREC is developing a digital clone of its Levenmouth turbine by fitting sensors to its blades, tower and substructure to monitor its behaviour in real-world conditions.
In parallel, it will provide the opportunity to a number of emerging technology developers to demonstrate and validate their latest innovations alongside existing best-in-class products.
A lack of access to demonstration facilities is one of the major hurdles to innovation and consequent cost-reduction in offshore wind. It is believed that this will be the first time that SMEs have had such an opportunity to gain access to a next generation offshore wind turbine.
Cian Conroy, OREC Senior Partnership Manager, explained: “The continued growth of the British offshore wind industry is providing opportunities for companies from sectors as diverse as marine, oil and gas, aerospace and power generation.
“The challenges of operating in the hostile and complex offshore environment require innovative technology solutions, and through demonstration at Levenmouth we can help the very best to accelerate their development and route to market.”
Technologies should be at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 or higher and should be non-intrusive to the operations of the turbine, or require any significant alteration of their device.
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, added: “Recent rapid growth in offshore wind brings with it the need for the sector to rethink how large megawatt turbines behave and to target lower costs through better design.
“This project lets SMEs gain access to ORE Catapult’s Levenmouth demonstrator turbine, helping them to better understand the challenges of operating in an offshore wind environment, and drive forward further innovation in the sector.”