Dutch award €7.3m for offshore wind R&D

Two more funding rounds planned this year

A new Dutch government-industry research and development (R&D) scheme has awarded grants totalling €7.3m to six projects aimed at cutting the cost of offshore wind and strengthening the country's contribution to the sector.

The TKI Wind at Sea initiative mirrors the approach taken by the UK and is focused on reducing the costs of offshore wind by 40% - to €100/MWh by 2020. The need to cut the cost of offshore wind has become more pressing since the Dutch government last year increased the country’s target for renewable electricity consumption, to 16% by 2020. Offshore wind is slated to play a crucial role in achieving this goal.

Six companies and research institutes have been awarded grants:

-         Grontmij Netherlands, studying integrated offshore electricity infrastructure

-         ECN, which will use Lidar to improve turbine yields

-         Marin, investigating the impact of waves on foundations

-         TNO, reducing fatigue of steel structures

-         Fistuca, improvements to foundation installation

-         Z Technologies, improving access to turbines.

Grontmij’s project has won a €2m grant to examine the feasibility of an interconnector in the North Sea that would link individual countries via a single cable. The consultancy will consider technical solutions as well as necessary changes to international law, regulations and new financing models.

The six grants represent the first tranche of money to be allocated by TKI Wind at Sea. There will be two further tenders this year, with a combined budget of €11.4m. Around 80 companies support TKI Wind at Sea, including leading players such as Ballast Needam, Siemens and Eneco.

The TKI is also involved with the Dutch Wind Energy Association (NWEA) in developing an offshore site, dubbed the Leeghwater Demonstration Park, where innovative cost-cutting concepts can be tested. The location for the 300MW facility has not yet been decided, but TKI Wind at Sea and NWEA expect to submit a proposal this summer and hope to have it up and running in 2017. Costs will be shared between the state and industry.

The TKI programme runs in parallel with the existing Far and Large Offshore Wind (FLOW) scheme, launched in 2010 for a period of five years. FLOW has a budget of €47m, funded equally by the government and a consortium of thirteen businesses and research bodies involved in offshore wind: RWE, Eneco, Tennet, Ballast Nedam, Van Oord, IHC Merwede, 2-B Energy, XEMC Darwind, energy research institute ECN, Delft University of Technology, Deltares, WMC, and BAM Civiel. Research funded by FLOW includes turbine development, noise reduction during monopole installation and gravity-based foundations.


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