Targeting floating offshore wind growth

November 5, 2020
Targeting floating offshore wind growth

The recent announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his plans to drive renewable growth and make the country a world leader in offshore wind may be a turning point for the UK in seizing the opportunity to lead a low-carbon transition.

This funding will be particularly relevant for the development of floating offshore wind, with a target set for 1GW to be produced off the UK by the end of the decade.

Last month, speakers at the jointly organised RenewableUK/Scottish Renewables Floating Offshore Wind event expressed positivity around the opportunity for growth in floating offshore wind in the UK. However, there will need to be significant improvements and investment into port infrastructure to make this growth happen at scale.

The UK Government’s £160 million port infrastructure fund falls short when you consider the costs involved in developing offshore wind but it’s a start.  As it stands, no Scottish ports could fully support the work associated with floating offshore wind. Substantial investment, around £200m at least, will be needed if we want Scotland to be a leader in this field and compete with ports across Europe. The port infrastructure fund is only the beginning of the long-term support needed for this transformation.

There are also many technological unknowns in floating offshore wind due to the limited number of live projects in operation. However, we are already taking the first steps here in the north east with several leading global projects making significant progress.

Kincardine, which is under construction 15km off the coast of Aberdeen, will become the world’s largest floating wind farm with a capacity of 50MW. It was also encouraging to hear about the Dolphyn project, a pioneering wind-to-hydrogen concept that will be trialled on the Kincardine wind farm from 2024.

We are supporting our membership with their developments in floating offshore wind. Apollo, an AREG member, was recently appointed to support the development of Bombora’s floating mWave device, a wave energy converter that can be applied to a floating offshore wind platform. Another AREG member, energy consultancy Xodus Group, recently launched a three-year collaborative research project on the costs associated with floating offshore wind and has issued an open call to developers and technology suppliers to engage.

At this early stage in the development of floating offshore wind, there is much that we can learn from other markets. For example, Equinor’s 11-turbine Hywind Tampen project in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea is set to supply one-third of the global floating offshore wind capacity. I’m pleased to say that Equinor will join us to present at our next AREG webinar on November 24 to provide an insight into the operator’s future plans.

The commitment to these targets as set out by Prime Minister Johnson has already come into question with the delay to the next UK offshore wind round by the Crown Estate, and final awards moved from 2021 to an expectation of spring 2022. Thankfully ScotWind will not be impacted.

In the coming months, AREG’s priority will be to fight for every penny for our region, ensuring that Aberdeen gets its share of the £160m for port upgrades. We look forward to engaging with supply chain and government to make progress towards these targets and ensure that our region leads the way in this transition.

Get in touch

The team at AREG is committed to ensuring that businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire capitalise on opportunities in renewable energy and that our members achieve success in this rapidly growing market. Please contact us with your news, views, concerns and successes so that we are well placed to deliver on your behalf.

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.

Scottish Renewables

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.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

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.

All-Energy

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.

Vattenfall

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.

Scottish Enterprise