News

25 October 2011

£25m investment in offshore wind opportunities

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has announced plans to invest up to £25m in an offshore wind floating system demonstration project which would open up new areas off the coast of the UK and help bring generation costs down.

It is estimated that the UK has over a third of the total European potential offshore wind resource – enough to power the country nearly three times over.

Exploiting this natural resource economically, particularly in deeper waters off the west of the country, will require significant technology developments to build, operate and support large offshore wind arrays.

Dr David Clarke, ETI Chief Executive said:

Our national energy systems modelling and our engineering design projects have shown that offshore wind could play a major role in providing clean, secure and affordable energy for the UK and will be an important part of the energy mix by 2050 alongside nuclear power, fossil fuel power stations fitted with carbon capture and storage and large scale energy efficiency measures.

Offshore wind must be affordable and cost competitive with alternatives and although large, floating turbines will have high capital costs, they can access near-to-shore, high wind speed sites off the west coast of the UK which overall brings down the cost of electricity generation for the long term.

Our studies have shown that access to high wind areas which are close to shore should be an attractive investment compared to some existing UK sites which are further from the coast in areas of lower wind.  We also expect there is likely to be a considerable global market for floating wind turbines which can be developed in the UK.

We see floating turbine technology being strategically important to both the UK’s energy supply and its industrial strategy which is why we are now seeking partners to carry out the development, installation and commissioning of a full scale floating wind turbine system demonstrator by 2016.

The project will see the design, construction and installation of a floating system demonstrator by 2016 at a relatively near shore site with high wind speeds up to about 10 metres per second in water between 60 and 100 metres deep.

It will be operated for at least two years to show it can generate high levels of electricity, be maintained without using specially designed vessels and to verify the predicted technical and economic performance.

The intention is that it would be operated for another eight years to allow further developments to take place.

The ETI will also commission a test site for the demonstrator with possible sites being provided to project participants during the design phase.

A Request for Proposals (RfP) will be issued on Tuesday 25 October for organisations wanting to get involved in the project. 

The deadline for the notification of intention to submit a proposal is 6 January 2012 and the closing date is 27 January 2012. A project briefing event will be in December 2011 for organisations wanting to know more about the project.

Participants chosen to take part in the project will be capable of providing an offshore wind turbine in the 5MW to 7MW range that can be installed on the foundation.
The ETI is a public private partnership between six global industrial companies and the UK Government tasked with developing “mass scale” technologies that will help the UK meet its 2020 and 2050 energy targets. It is concerned with identifying affordable, sustainable and secure energy across heat, power, transport and the infrastructure that links them.

It has announced £133m of investments in projects covering marine energy, distributed energy, buildings, energy storage and distribution, carbon capture and storage, transport and bioenergy with including £43m in offshore wind.

A project to develop blades high-performance blades over 90 metres long for the next generation of large offshore wind turbines is currently being commissioned and an announcement on who will carry out the work on behalf of the ETI will be made early next year.

Anyone interested in receiving details of future RfPs issued by the ETI can sign up to the RSS feed on the ETI website, subscribe to receive the ETI’s newsletters by emailing info@eti.co.uk or follow the ETI on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_eti

Notes to Editors

  1. The Energy Technologies Institute is a UK based company formed from global industries and the UK Government. The ETI brings together projects and partnerships that create affordable, reliable, clean energy for heat, power, transport and associated infrastructure. For more information, please go to www.energytechnologies.co.uk
  2. The ETI’s six private sector members are BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell. The ETI’s public funds are received from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills through the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The ETI will accelerate the deployment of affordable, secure low-carbon energy systems from 2020 to 2050 by demonstrating technologies, developing knowledge, skills and supply-chains and informing the development of regulation, standards and policy.

For further information please contact
ETI PR Manager Richard Robinson on 01509 202026 / 07500 049626 or email Richard.robinson@eti.co.uk

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