A center to help develop floating offshore windfarms has been launched in Aberdeen, with Nicola Sturgeon praising the “world-first” renewable energy project.
The £9 million National Floating Wind Innovation Center will simulate and then test components of floating structures, including moorings and anchors, dynamic cables and electrical systems that can be used for floating offshore wind turbines.
Scotland’s First Minister visited the launch of the center being funded by Energy Transition Zone (ETZ Ltd) and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult with the aim of increasing the commercial viability of offshore wind.
It follows the ScotWind announcement where rights to 17 offshore wind projects off the Scottish coast were awarded to firms, with more than half of the expected energy generated coming from floating wind farms.
The center aims to support both the development of a floating wind supply chain as well as helping developers, operators, equipment manufacturers and developers with research, testing, deployment of offshore technology.
In a statement released ahead of the launch, Ms Sturgeon said: “The Energy Transition Zone, backed by £26 million of Scottish Government funding, will contribute to the north east being ideally placed to make the most of the anticipated increase in demand for offshore wind as we transition to net zero.
“The new National Floating Wind Innovation Center is a world first, and it marks a major step in our collective efforts to capitalize on the huge opportunity that floating offshore wind presents.
“My congratulations to the team at ETZ Ltd and ORE Catapult for progressing this project at pace.
“Ensuring our transition to net zero is fair, just and delivers sustainable jobs and growth is at the heart of our national strategy for economic transformation, which the Economy Secretary will announce more details on this week.
“As well as supporting the acceleration of offshore wind, ETZ Ltd will be a catalyst for high-value manufacturing, research, development and the deployment of new energy technologies, such as green and blue hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.
“These will be critical to developing a long-term international industry base that delivers sustainable jobs and growth for the north east.”
ETZ Ltd Chairman, Sir Ian Wood, said: “The north east of Scotland is one of the most attractive locations for investment in low carbon and net zero technologies and the Energy Transition Zone will be at the very heart of our efforts to reposition this region. as the net zero energy capital of Europe.”
He added: “Crown Estate Scotland’s decision to approve developments that will generate 24.8GW of offshore wind power is hugely encouraging and it’s great to see the Scottish Government’s recognition of the sheer scale of the opportunity before us.
“18GW of power announced, representing over 70% of all successful bids, are within 100 nautical miles of Aberdeen and therefore this region is ideally placed to become a globally recognized hub supporting the high-value manufacturing, operations and maintenance and innovation required to deliver these developments at pace.
“A massive 14.6GW of floating wind developments is announced in the ScotWind leasing round and that is why ORE Catapult’s decision to create the National Floating Wind Innovation Center in Aberdeen is so important and a critical part of ETZ Ltd’s plans.”
Andrew Jamieson, ORE Catapult chief executive added: “The development of floating offshore wind is one of the biggest opportunities in the UK today to secure real global leadership.
“Working in collaboration with industry, government and other stakeholders, we can grasp the unprecedented opportunity for UK technology and process innovation to solve challenges such as faster consenting and enhanced grid solutions, driving economic and supply chain growth and job creation as we strive to achieve netzero.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.