£1million Funding Available for Floating Offshore Wind Technologies

£1million Funding Available for Floating Offshore Wind Technologies

£1m of Scottish Government grant funding will be invested in up to ten projects to support technologies that will help the floating offshore wind industry reach its full potential. It is highly likely that some of these technologies may not have been developed with the offshore wind industry in mind, hence we are keen to ensure that the competition is promoted widely in a wide range of sectors and industries.

The Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (JIP), managed by the Carbon Trust, has today launched the Floating Wind Technology Acceleration Competition to accelerate the development and commercialisation of floating wind. The Carbon Trust, together with 14 leading offshore wind developers represented by the Floating Wind JIP, will select the best ideas with a particular emphasis on mooring systems and operations and maintenance (O&M).

With a fund of £1 million from the Scottish Government, the competition will award innovations that will drive the floating wind market forward to help meet decarbonisation targets and open up a £32 billion market opportunity.

Analysis by the Carbon Trust has shown that while floating offshore wind is a nascent sector, it is forecast to deliver up to 12GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030. Realising this scale of deployment cost effectively will require innovative solutions to de-risk the technology and reduce costs.

Joint industry partnerships have delivered targeted and effective research and development projects that have contributed to the rapid cost reductions seen across the offshore wind industry over the last decade. However, a number of challenges for the floating offshore wind sector need to be overcome to allow large scale deployment of this technology.    

The objective of the Floating Wind Technology Acceleration Competition is to attract ideas both from within the offshore wind industry and across a wide variety of other sectors including: marine, automotive, oil and gas, aerospace, robotics and manufacturing. It is specifically seeking technologies to address four key challenge areas:

- Technologies that will enable effective and safe major component exchange offshore, for example by compensating for the relative motion between the vessel and turbine during O&M.

- Developing cost effective and safe disconnection and re-connection operations when turbine foundations are towed to port.This includes novel ‘out of service’ arrangements which ensure mooring lines and electrical array cables safely remain secured in-situ while the turbine is in port.
New methods for cost effective, safe and reliable monitoring and inspection of large numbers of mooring lines, power cables and foundation structures.

- New methods, materials or technologies that reduce the cost of mooring systems through easier and safe installation and/or reduced maintenance requirements.

- Innovators will also be able to make applications in a miscellaneous category to enable additional novel ideas to be considered.  

The challenge areas were identified through previous work undertaken by the Floating Wind JIP. The Summary Report from Phase 1 of the Floating Wind JIP summarises the technology challenges in the floating wind sector across electrical systems, mooring systems, infrastructure and logistics.

This report highlighted the need for dedicated solutions for offshore wind mooring systems, in particular the use of synthetic mooring line materials compared to conventional steel chain or wire moorings, and efficient means of installation and maintenance. The report also identified the need to develop efficient manufacturing processes and develop cost effective means of maintaining floating offshore wind structures.

Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:

“I am delighted to announce the £1 million Floating Wind Technology Acceleration Competition that Scottish Government are partnering with the Carbon Trust to deliver.

“Given that 80% of offshore resource across the world is in deeper water, floating offshore wind will undoubtedly play a key role in renewable generation in the future.

“Finding solutions to the key challenges identified as part of the competition will facilitate faster deployment of commercial level floating offshore wind farms, allowing this technology to reach its potential.”

Could it work for floating offshore wind?

The Floating Wind Technology Acceleration Competition is looking for technologies that will help overcome barriers to the development of the floating offshore wind industry in Scotland.

Private companies, not-for-profit organisations and academic institutions with a relevant technology could be eligible to receive up to £250k in grant funding in order to further development. Up to 10 organisations will receive a share of the £1m fund to develop their technologies during 2019 and 2020. Projects across a wide range of development stages are eligible for funding, from feasibility studies for lower Technology Readiness Level (TRL) technologies, to Front End Engineering Designs (FEED), scale model testing or full-scale demonstration or test programmes.

Submissions are sought in four main technology challenges areas:

·         Heavy lift offshore maintenance

·         Tow to port maintenance

·         Monitoring and inspection of floating offshore wind structures

·         Mooring systems

The competition also includes a fifth, miscellaneous category for other floating offshore wind innovations not covered by the four challenges. These could include innovations to reduce installation times, improve ancillary hardware used with export cables, enable serial fabrication or reduce maintenance requirements.

The deadline for applications is: 5th November 2019.

For more information on the competition and to apply: https://www.carbontrust.com/about-us/tenders/floating-wind-technology-acceleration-competition/

For background on the Floating Wind Joint Industry Project, which is supporting the competition: https://www.carbontrust.com/offshore-wind/floating/floating-wind-jip/