The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme will receive more than two million pounds between 2014 and 2016 to support the commercialisation of floating offshore wind turbines and to improve wind farm maintenance and operations to reduce financial costs.

First Minister Alex Salmond announced the funding at a meeting this week with representatives of the Carbon Trust and the Offshore Wind Accelerator programme in Aberdeen.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The Carbon Trust’s OWA programme brings together nine offshore wind developers, representing more than 72% of the UK’s licenced capacity. The developers include DONG Energy, E.On, Mainstream Renewable Power, RWE, Innogy, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.

Driving costs down

Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay 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.”

Commenting on the news WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer Gina Hanrahan said: “Scotland’s windy seas make it one of the best locations in Europe for offshore wind, with the potential to create thousands of jobs, slash carbon emissions, and help keep the nation’s lights on.

“Studies estimate that Scotland’s offshore wind industry could create 28,000 jobs by 2020 and contribute over £7 billion of investment to the economy. By driving innovation and promoting collaboration, initiatives like the Accelerator Programme will help to ensure that we make the most of the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind.”

According to the European Wind Energy Association 4.9 GW of new offshore wind capacity is currently under construction in Europe with more than 10 GW of wind capacity currently installed in the UK.

Matt Field

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