UK and US to join forces on offshore floating wind turbines

The UK and US are set to forge a new agreement on greener energy initiatives, with a floating wind turbines project kicking off the partnership.

The agreement forms part of the Clean Energy Ministerial talks, taking place in London later this week (April 25-26), which will see energy ministers from 23 of the world's leading economies gather in the capital to discuss the transition to clean energy technologies.

It is anticipated that the UK and US will work together on a floating wind technology project, with a new Memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 'Collaboration in Energy Related Fields' being signed this week.

According to energy secretary Ed Davey, who will be co-chairing the event, offshore wind turbines have the advantage of generating power in deep waters inaccessible to conventional turbines.

It is thought the turbines will help the UK increase its renewable energy generation at a lower cost and help retain investor interest in the UK wind market, as well as meet its energy security and low carbon targets.

The initiative could see floating turbines installed off the UK coast in deep waters unsuitable for conventional turbines.

The agreement will see also work carried out on other forms of renewable power generation, including low carbon technologies to combat climate change, energy transmission and distribution and energy efficiency.

Mr Davey said: "Offshore wind is critical for the UK's energy future and there is big interest around the world in what we're doing. Floating wind turbines will allow us to exploit more of our wind resource, potentially more cheaply.

"Turbines will be able to locate in ever deeper waters where the wind is stronger but without the expense of foundations down to the seabed or having to undertake major repairs out at sea.

"The UK and US are both making funding available for this technology and we're determined to work together to capitalise on this shared intent."

To support the scheme, the UK based Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is in the process of commissioning a £25m offshore wind floating demonstrator, with the aim of producing an offshore wind turbine that can produce 5-7MW by 2016.

Meanwhile, in the US the Department of Energy has revealed plans to invest $180m to fund four projects in US waters, which could potentially include a floating wind demonstration.

Edie will be providing further coverage of the Clean Energy Ministerial.

Carys Matthews


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