Ten of the most prominent offshore energy organisations have joined the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s national Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence (FOWCoE) to drive forward the development of next-generation offshore wind technologies.
Offshore wind developers EDF Renewables, EDP Renewables, Equinor, ESB, Mainstream Renewable Power, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables, and Offshore Wind Power Ltd (OWPL), a Joint Venture between the Green Investment Group and RIDG, are joined by energy companies Total and Shell in the Centre of Excellence.
The Centre will focus on all areas of floating wind activity in the UK across four key areas – technology development, supply chain and operations, development and consent, and delivering net zero. The aim is to reduce the cost of energy from floating wind, accelerate the build-out of floating farms, create opportunities for the UK supply chain, and drive innovation in manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance.
The Centre will work closely with stakeholders across the sector, including the Welsh and Scottish Governments and regional authorities in England, leading academic institutions in the UK, and key technology and supply chain providers. This collaborative approach should enable the Centre to deliver and co-ordinate a range of world-leading activities, including a portfolio of collaborative projects.
The first tranche of projects will focus on addressing some of the critical challenges in the commercialisation of floating offshore wind, including the development and consenting process; project and technology certification, classification and application of standards; developing a cost reduction pathway to commercial competitiveness; and defining the energy systems benefits of floating offshore wind.
Cameron Smith, Mainstream Renewables Power, will co-chair the FOWCoE’s Executive Governance Board alongside ORE Catapult’s Chris Hill. He commented "The advancement of floating wind technologies is seen as vital if the country is to deliver on its ambitious offshore wind growth target of 40 GW by 2030 and meet its net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. It can also be a catalyst for a robust global economic recovery as we exit the Covid-19 pandemic. Studies have shown that floating wind could create 17 000 jobs and generate £33.6 billion for the UK economy by 2050."