RenewableUK has heralded new announcements today which will bring floating turbines a step closer to UK waters and open up the possibility of further developments.
At RenewableUK’s Offshore Wind conference in Manchester, the Crown Estate, the managers of the seabed, announced a new offshore wind leasing round for innovative structures.
This is to be followed by the Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, announcing the introduction of the new bands of Renewables Obligation in Scotland, with a new band of 2.5 ROCs aimed at supporting generation from offshore test and demonstration sites, and a higher rate of 3.5 ROCs aimed at providing financial support for innovative offshore structures such as floating turbines.
The development of floating turbines will enable access to deeper water sites, opening up the potential for further development of the UK’s offshore wind resource beyond the 48GW already leased.
Wind speeds are consistently higher in deeper waters but it is not always possible to fix turbines to the seabed, as is traditionally done in offshore wind development.
As well as opening up potential new sites it is hoped that floating turbines could eventually contribute to meeting the offshore wind industry’s ambitious cost reduction targets, partly because repairs to floating wind platforms can be done in port rather than out at sea.
The news comes whilst the Energy Technologies Institute is in the midst of a study developing an offshore wind floating platform system demonstrator.
Nick Medic, RenewableUK Director of Offshore Renewables said: “Today’s announcements are an important step along the way to the UK leading the world in developing floating turbines. The opportunities for deployment of floating turbines are significant, and their development can transform our UK offshore wind resource.
“A small investment in developing this innovative technology can pay off magnificently in ensuring that expertise and jobs are developed in the UK and our offshore wind resource is maximised.
"It will also help to bring costs down over the longer term.”