MEMBER NEWS: EMEC concludes concept design on 100 MW floating wind test site

October 10, 2022
MEMBER NEWS: EMEC concludes concept design on 100 MW floating wind test site

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), based in Orkney, Scotland, has concluded concept design for a new 100 MW floating offshore wind test and demonstration site.

As the world’s leading, and only accredited, ocean energy test facility EMEC is aiming to secure a lease for a site ~20 km west of Orkney, further out to sea from its existing wave energy test facility at Billia Croo.

EMEC’s proposed test site will comprise six berths for floating offshore wind turbines of up to 20 MW rated capacity. With water depths of 80-95 meters, large waves and a mean windspeed of 10.7 m/s, the site will offer floating wind developers representative metocean conditions to those in ScotWind, Celtic Seas and future leasing rounds.

Four of the six berths will be grid-connected, while the final two berths will be reserved for alternative applications such as hydrogen generation.

Following extensive research and engagement with industry, the site setup and configuration has been fine-tuned to dovetail the sector’s existing and future requirements, with more than 25 GW of floating wind due to be deployed in UK waters over the next 20 years.

The site has been designed specifically for floating wind developers to de-risk their technologies, putting turbines, floating structures, moorings and other components to the test in an energetic offshore environment. This will enable performance to be refined on a wide range of floating wind technologies prior to commercial scale-up and build-out.

As well as being a catalyst for floating wind R&D and innovation, the test site will make full use of Scapa Flow and plans for it to become an offshore wind hub, supporting future job creation and supply chain development. This will help capture and retain economic benefit from commercial offshore wind projects in Orkney and the Highlands and Islands.

Building on 20 years of experience operating offshore test sites, helping to reduce the time, cost and risk of demonstrating technologies in the sea, EMEC will provide the site management, technical, and supply chain link-up support required to allow developers to focus more intently on developing and demonstrating their technologies.

Xodus Group (Xodus) has provided expert support through the initial design phases and both parties are working to establish a longer-term collaboration with the award-winning X-Academy initiative, ensuring that the facility plays a key role in developing the skills needed to grow the sector.

Neil Kermode, Managing Director at EMEC said:

“Floating wind will have a large role to play in our future energy mix so we’re gearing up to support development of the sector. We’re looking at how we can use our existing testing infrastructure for floating wind subsystem testing, as well as developing a new test site to enable full-scale demonstrations ahead of commercial deployments around Scotland.

“Floating wind is still in relative infancy with limited experience globally of deploying and operating technologies in high energy conditions. EMEC’s new demonstration site will provide developers with a highly comparable testing ground to proposed project locations prior to large-scale roll out. This testing will enable companies to de-risk projects helping to satisfy technical due diligence requirements and make financing easier and cheaper.

“We know the demand is there, we’ve had a stream of requests over the last few years from wind developers seeking a test site to help them commercialise their technologies, so this feels like the natural next step in the evolution of EMEC. Having hosted more wave and tidal energy technologies at EMEC than anywhere else in the world, we’re well versed in running offshore testing grounds for renewable energy.

“For Scotland to be ready for ScotWind, we need to be testing these technologies and developing our supply chains now.”

Peter Tipler, Managing Director at X-Academy said:

“EMEC’s ambition to create a floating wind test site has been a great innovation project for Xodus to support and will be key to de-risking the sector for decades to come. There’s a huge opportunity here for Orkney to capitalise on the ScotWind developments and become a base for supply chain and assembly.

“As EMEC has demonstrated with the operation of its wave and tidal testing infrastructure, and more recently hydrogen demonstration projects, a floating wind test site will act as a catalyst for jobs, skills and supply chain development helping to retain economic benefit locally. The sector faces a massive ramp-up in demand for skilled individuals to work in the sector. A key opportunity that we’re keen to explore is the use of the test site as part of our X-Academy programme, providing Xcellerators (programme participants) first-hand experience on real projects as part of their training.”

EMEC is attending the Renewable UK and Scottish Renewables Floating Offshore Wind Conference this week, 12-13 October, in Aberdeen. Interested parties are encouraged to get in touch to discuss development and testing opportunities.

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AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

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Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

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The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

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