The development of the prototype foundations for offshore wind turbines, sited in water depths greater than 30 metres, will be supported by the Scottish Innovative Foundation Technologies Fund.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland pioneered the world’s first deep-water offshore wind development and our innovation and offshore engineering expertise will play an increasingly important role as the industry moves to harness the wind further offshore – where both the energy resources and the technical challenges are greater.”

Ewing claimed the funding would maintain Scotland’s position as one of the world’s most attractive destinations for renewable energy investment and would help lower costs in developing the foundations needed for wind turbines in deeper water.

He also said the funding would benefit Scottish companies through the supply chain, securing jobs and boosting the country’s economic recovery.

Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at Scottish Enterprise added: “More and more we’re being recognised as a centre for offshore wind research, innovation and manufacturing.

“This combined with the world-leading experience we’ve build up through oil & gas in the North Sea, has already seen key players in the sector Areva, Samsung, Gamesa and Mitsubishi announce plans to come here. The innovation supported by this fund will act as a further catalyst for the industry in Scotland as we develop a renewables sector that competes on a global scale.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) welcomed the announcement claiming Scottish Ministers had issued a vote of confidence in the offshore wind industry.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Scotland has an estimated quarter of Europe’s total offshore wind and tidal resource. To be fully able to tap into that potential we need to develop ways to operate offshore, especially in deeper waters, and this Government support will help to do this.”

Conor McGlone

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