Scottish Government invests £1.5m in offshore wind

The Scottish Government has announced it will provide £1.5m in investments to the offshore wind sector to increase innovation, reduce costs and encourage additional funding.

The investment has been awarded to the Carbon Trust to support its Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) research and design programme which has driven forward new technologies in the sector since 2008.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Previous Scottish Government support for the OWA has helped develop new ideas in key areas of importance to companies operating in Scottish waters and I have no doubt this new funding will help firms to continue this important work.

“Only last week, around 350 jobs were announced as a direct result of the construction of the Beatrice offshore wind farm, highlighting the massive opportunity offshore wind presents to Scotland and the Scottish economy.

“Innovation in renewables also continues to contribute to the excellent progress we are making on reducing greenhouse gas emissions after the recent announcement that Scotland has exceeded our 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% six years early.”

‘Driving innovation’

The Carbon Trust will use the funding to support projects in the following three areas: continuing to explore the opportunity that floating offshore wind offers to Scotland, encouraging international collaboration on offshore wind developers’ most pressing issues, and sharing knowledge on innovation and cost reduction between partners.

The move was welcomed by WWF Scotland director Lang Banks who expressed confidence that Government support for innovative projects such as the Accelerator Programme would help to drive further cost reductions in the offshore wind industry.

“Scotland’s seas boast a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource with the potential to create thousands of jobs, help us to avoid carbon emissions, and to power the nation,” Banks said. “By driving innovation and promoting collaboration, support for initiatives like the Accelerator Programme will help to ensure that we’re well placed to make the most of the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind.

“Independent research has shown that Scotland could have a secure electricity system powered almost entirely by renewables by 2030. To ensure that we reap the benefits of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation, in addition to continued support for offshore wind, the Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy should major on flexibility, demand reduction, and storage.”

Winds of change

The OWA programme has established an industry collaboration with nine UK wind farm developers to identify and commercialise a series of innovations which aim to reduce the costs of offshore wind.

One of the nine members, DONG Energy, recently completed the ownership of the 1.2GW offshore wind development Hornsea Project One, the world’s largest proposed offshore wind farm.

Fellow member Statoil has revealed it is piloting an innovative battery storage system for offshore wind energy on the world’s first floating wind farm – the Hywind park off the coast of Aberdeenshire in Scotland.

Last month, the construction of the £2.6bn Beatrice offshore wind farm in Scotland was given the green light by developers SSE.

George Ogleby

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