The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has been awarded a Section 36 consent variation by the Scottish government to operate its 7 MW Levenmouth offshore wind demonstration turbine in Fife until 2029.
The consent extension means that the Turbine can continue to offer UK industry and academia an opportunity to develop a wide range of new technologies as well as a deeper understanding of the operations and maintenance aspects of offshore wind turbines, with the ultimate goals of reducing the cost of energy and creating more jobs.
Over the past four years, the Turbine has supported more than 50 UK companies with access for technology development, demonstration and validation or access to data and information generated by turbine operations. The current value of ongoing projects associated with the Turbine is more than £11 m.
The Catapult’s activities around the turbine have also attracted significant support from the Scottish government, with £685k funding provided to run SME technology demonstration projects and establish data sharing initiatives.
Andrew Jamieson, chief executive of ORE Catapult, commented: “This consent extension is really welcome news for the UK’s offshore wind industry. Accessing real-world operational sites to test and demonstrate new products and services can be a real barrier to small companies looking to break into the offshore wind market. The Levenmouth Turbine offers an easily accessible alternative to demonstrating technologies offshore in harsh and difficult to access sites.”
Collaboration in China
ORE Catapult is partnering with China’s Tus-Wind to establish the TUS-ORE Catapult Technology Research Centre, a £2m, three-year investment backed by the Yantai local government authority.
Based in Yantai in China’s Shandong Province, the research centre will drive the development of innovative technologies and support the development of an offshore wind farm of at least 300 MW capacity, with a minimum 10% UK content. This represents a UK supply chain export opportunity of at least £90m and provides a launch pad for the UK to access the Chinese wind market, estimated to be worth £15bn by 2030.
The Centre will assist UK SMEs looking to enter the Chinese market, and lead Research & Development projects to drive collaboration between China and the UK.
In December 2017, ORE Catapult signed a Research and Development Collaboration Agreement with TUS-Wind and TusPark Newcastle through which the organisations committed to working together to advance offshore wind technology cooperation between the UK and China.
Since then, the Catapult has organised a number of workshops aimed at introducing UK SMEs to the Chinese market and in March 2018 was part of an Innovate UK trade mission to China along with 15 UK companies. The Research Centre is the next stage in further developing the collaboration.
Mr Yingzhuo Du, senior VP of TusEnergy, commented: “UK collaboration plays an ever more important role in global economic growth. The collaboration with ORE Catapult forms a bridge between two of the leading countries in the offshore renewable energy industry. It helps drive the cost of renewable energy down. Moreover, we expect to have new technologies developed and commercialised out of China-UK joint research projects.”