The UK Government has announced a total of £31 million in new grant funding for the offshore wind sector, earmarked for the development of innovative floating offshore wind technologies.
The funding comes from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), through its Floating Offshore Wind Demonstration Programme. But ultimately, the money is provided by the Treasury’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.
In total, 11 projects have been funded, covering key ‘challenge areas’ necessary for increasing the rate of deployment of floating offshore wind turbines. These include work on:
- Dynamic cables
- Floaters and foundations
- Anchorings and moorings
- Industry-defined innovation
- Integrated demonstration of multiple technologies
The selected projects will receive £31 million from the UK Government, along with funding from the private sector – bringing the total to £61.4 million in new investment.
Which projects have been funded?
One of the main projects to be funded is a consortium project aiming to pilot a 2MW turbine (or larger) in UK waters. This will receive £10 million, the largest sum awarded in the latest round of grants.
Other key projects include:
- Accelerated development of Higher-voltage Export & Array cables for Dynamic applications (AHEAD) – essential for increased turbine sizes, distances from short and water depths.
- Disconnectable Buoy Mooring System for Floating Offshore Wind – which aims to reduce the duration of installation for mooring and power cables, as well as reducing project and energy costs, and lowering emissions from vessels.
- Integrated Floating Offshore Wind Demonstrator (INFLOAT) – which according to the Government’s website will: “develop and demonstrate a set of innovative UK technologies addressing all competition technology challenges. The demonstrations will be integrated with the Pentland Demo project where a 15-18MW class floating platform based on the TetraSub design by Stiesdal Offshore Technologies will be deployed at a site in northern Scotland in 2023. The project’s overarching objective is to accelerate the roll-out of large scale FOW by driving down LCOE whilst growing the UK supply chain’s capability and capacity to deliver.”
Addressing the ongoing energy price crisis
BEIS is describing this latest investment in floating offshore wind projects as a potential solution to the UK’s energy crisis. In the space of just a year, wholesale gas and electricity prices have more than doubled, mainly due to problems importing gas into the UK.
The government’s Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Greg Hands, explained:
“We are already a world leader in offshore wind and floating technology is key to unlocking the full potential of the seas around Britain.”
“These innovative projects will help us expand renewable energy further and faster across the UK and help to reduce our exposure volatile global gas prices.”
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