New £900,000 Levenmouth turbine project set to put Scotland at heart of EU offshore wind research

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse (third left) helps launch the new Levenmouth offshore wind research programme with Cian Conroy, Steve Wyatt and Tony Quinn from ORE Catapult.
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse (third left) helps launch the new Levenmouth offshore wind research programme with Cian Conroy, Steve Wyatt and Tony Quinn from ORE Catapult.

The Scottish and British governments have teamed up to pump £920,000 to fund a new advance offshore wind research project based around the Levenmouth demonstration turbine, near Edinburgh.

This is already a demonstration hub for developers across the UK to test their designs on a 7-MW offshore wind turbine.

The new programme will increase access for those businesses and enable them to take advantage of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s expertise and its industry and academic partnerships.

It will also fund the establishment of a lidar (laser-based radar) test facility, and facilitate the creation of a ‘virtual windfarm’.

The investment should give Scottish companies a crucial edge in developing technology and services for the new wave of offshore wind developments.

Chris Hill, OREC Performance Director, explained: “The Levenmouth turbine offers an unrivalled opportunity to position Scotland and the UK at the heart of European wind research.

“Providing a unique testing environment for new technologies, and using real-world data from the operation of the turbine, will help us develop a deeper understanding of the operations and maintenance aspects of offshore wind turbines.

“This will significantly help to develop the skills and experience that is critical to the future growth of the industry and its continuing efforts to reduce costs.”

The virtual windfarm will be created using operational data from the Levenmouth turbine, delivering a unique platform for the dissemination of research, data and findings to Scotland’s industry and academic research communities, which could then be further developed by adding new research and datasets as they become available. This will help to increase understanding of how offshore wind farms work, and how to make them more efficient. 

The research programme also has the support of industry, with Wood Group, for instance, having a particular interest in lidar verification and testing.

Alan Mortimer from Wood Group’s renewable energy division, added: “Replacing on-site met masts with lidar and floating lidar technologies can significantly reduce development and operational costs. We are keen to see the testing and validation of these technologies accelerated to improve their industry uptake.

“Using the Levenmouth turbine to do this will ensure Scotland plays a central role in the development of this vital technology.” 

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, commented: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that offshore wind is integral to Scotland’s sustainable energy future – as well as helping us to achieve our ambitious climate change targets.”

25 Aug 2017

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