Carbon Trust

‘Dash for wind’ picks up pace as industry commitment to carbon trust’s ground-breaking R&D collaboration grows


Source: Carbon Trust

The ‘dash for wind’ accelerated today as the Carbon Trust secured industry commitment from seven leading developers, representing over 50% of the offshore wind capacity licensed in UK waters, to its Offshore wind Accelerator (OWA).

The announcement was made by Carbon Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, Michael Rea, who addressed the UK offshore wind industry at RenewableUK’s Offshore Wind 2010 event. Speaking at the conference in Liverpool, Mr Rea also released the findings from the Stage One of the OWA.

The latest new members, Mainstream Renewable Power and Statkraft join the roll of existing companies including DONG Energy, RWE Innogy, Scottish Power Renewables, SSE Renewables and Statoil, which have all committed to work with the Carbon Trust for the next four years with an investment totalling nearly £8m.

The OWA is one of the world’s leading technology research and development programmes designed to drive down the costs of offshore wind. Its main objective is to reduce costs by 10% over the next decade which would enable deployment to happen faster.

These developers have been awarded licences to develop almost 27GW of offshore wind in UK waters.

Michael Rea said that the growing support for the OWA shows that ‘it is delivering on its mission’ and industry is committed to working in partnership to create the vital engineering solutions to ensure a low carbon future.

He continued, “In offshore wind the UK faces its biggest engineering challenge of the decade to reduce carbon, and exploit a real opportunity to generate UK economic growth. Offshore wind structures reach heights greater than the London Gherkin and deployment needs to happen faster, cheaper and more safely that ever before if we are to meet the EU’s 15% renewable energy target.

“Our mission is to deliver market-ready technologies to the whole industry to drive out cost and make offshore wind more competitive. Working in collaboration with the leading developers is vital to address the key engineering challenges we must conquer. To succeed industry collaboration is vital to bringing down costs and the OWA is an example of this working in action.”

Uffe K. Jørgensen, Senior Director for Renewables Construction Management & Concepts in DONG Energy commented: “DONG Energy has pioneered offshore wind power during the past 20 years and we are committed to develop offshore wind power as one of our future core businesses. DONG Energy has an industry leading range of offshore wind farms in operation, under construction and in the pipeline - also in the UK - and we are eager to see development of new solutions that can reduce the cost of offshore wind energy and thereby help to unfold the huge potential of offshore wind power. Therefore we are pleased to continue our participation in the Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator, for the next four years.”

Andy Kinsella, Chief Executive Officer, Offshore of Mainstream Renewable Power said: “With over 5.5GW of offshore wind currently in development, Mainstream Renewable Power has joined the OWA because we believe the Cost of Energy must come down and Offshore Wind must become competitive in its own right. As fossil fuel prices increase and carbon taxes bite making conventional power prices more expensive, wind energy with its free fuel has a pivotal role to play in reducing the Cost of Energy. The objectives of the OWA are consistent with Mainstream's thought leadership and our aim to see COE drop. Furthermore, I believe that Mainstream brings a unique vision to the OWA that will inform and direct the programme to the benefit of the wider industry, particularly through our work on the North Sea Supergrid.”

Paul Coffey, Chief Operating Officer, RWE Innogy said: “The UK and European offshore wind business is rapidly becoming a large scale industry and RWE Innogy is at the forefront of this advancement. The Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator programme is a very progressive initiative, which will help drive and secure the future of this important industry. We are delighted to be part of this unique consortium that will help to reduce costs, increase performance and improve project economics by bringing new concepts and techniques to market maturity.”

Keith Anderson, Managing Director, ScottishPower Renewables and Iberdrola Renewables Offshore Business said: “We strongly support Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator Programme. The technological advances which have already been identified in the Programme will be central to Offshore Wind fully realising its enormous environmental and economic potential. It is vital therefore that these measures are brought to market as quickly as possible.”

Jim Smith, Director of Offshore Wind, SSE said: “Our success in the Round 3 and Scottish territorial waters processes adds to our options for developing our generation portfolio in the longer term and will help the UK meet energy security and climate change objectives.  The establishment of a strong supply chain is essential for the successful delivery of these sites and we are confident that our continued participation in the Carbon Trust's Offshore Wind Accelerator and their research into foundations, installations, maintenance and layout will make a significant contribution to realising this goal.”

Haakon Alfstad, Senior Vice President, Statkraft commented: “To maintain the position as Europe’s leader in renewable energy, Statkraft aims to develop significant offshore wind power projects in the UK, particularly through the Forewind partnership at Dogger Bank. We have joined Carbon Trust’s OWA because of the level of industry collaboration and the clear focus on solutions that can help to reduce costs in the supply chain.”

Anne Strømmen Lycke, Vice President, Statoil Wind Energy said: “As a developer of offshore wind power we are keen to see innovations which have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of electricity produced by offshore wind. Statoil‘s continued sponsorship of the OWA programme allows initial investment to be made to develop these innovations.”

Findings from the OWA stage one phase

The Carbon Trust also released findings from the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), designed to reduce the overall cost of offshore wind by targeting RD&D activity to address four key engineering challenges including foundation designs, access system, electrical systems and wake effects.

1. Reducing the cost of foundations and installation

  • Following a global competition which attracted more than 100 entries, four foundation concepts which have the potential to deliver material cost reduction for 30-60m depths have been selected for further development from the seven finalists. This will include optimising the designs of mass manufacturing and installation and potentially full scale demonstration of the most promising designs.

The foundation concepts selected are:

  • Gifford/BMT/Freyssinet (UK / France) - Large concrete gravity base structure, transported to site by a submersible transport and installation barge
  • Suction Pile Technology / Wood Group (UK/Netherlands) - Asymmetric suction bucket tripod foundation which can be transported from the quayside with the turbine already installed
  • Keystone Engineering (USA) - Inward battered guide  structure – three supporting legs angled around a central pile in a twisted jacket approach which is quicker to install
  • MBD Offshore (DK) - Suction bucket monopile, primary material is steel, using buoyant installation and delivery

2. Improving access to distant turbines to increase availability

  • The best access strategies for wind farms have been identified based on the distance to shore and the number of turbines.
  • A global competition will be launched to find the most innovative designs to make access to offshore wind farms easier, safer and much quicker – increasing availability and cut costs.

3. Increasing accuracy of wind farm yield predictions and optimising array layouts

  • One of the most comprehensive reviews of available models has been undertaken using real data from the OWA partner sites. This is allowing OWA to work with the software developers to improve the accuracy of their models, which should allow offshore wind project financing costs to be reduced.

4. Improving the reliability and reducing the cost of electricity transmission

  • Higher voltage intra-array cabling has been identified by the OWA as being a technology that has the potential to increase reliability, reduce losses and so improve yields - a design study will therefore be carried out to quantify the costs and benefits and to engage with equipment suppliers which will develop and provide the new kit.

About the Carbon Trust
The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, providing specialist support to business and the public sector to help cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies.  By stimulating low carbon action we contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.

We help to cut carbon emissions now by

  • Providing specialist advice and finance to help organisations cut carbon
  • Setting standards for carbon reduction

We reduce potential future carbon emissions by

  • Opening markets for low carbon technologies
  • Leading industry collaborations to commercialise technologies
  • Investing in early stage low carbon companies

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