United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Energy giants join forces to accelerate floating wind

Shell, Total, Equinor and EDF Renewables are among ten energy companies that have thrown their weight behind a new initiative to drive forward the commercialisation of floating wind.

Centre of excellence member Equinor developed Hywind Scotland — the world's first floating offshore wind farm (pic: Lars Christopher)
Centre of excellence member Equinor developed Hywind Scotland — the world's first floating offshore wind farm (pic: Lars Christopher)

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ORE Catapult, a research and development body backed by the UK government, today (23 June) announced its partnership with major offshore energy players to create a floating offshore wind centre of excellence (FOWCoE).

The project partners will focus on:

  • technological development;
  • supply chain and operations;
  • project development and consent;
  • and delivering net-zero.

They aim to reduce the cost of energy from floating wind, accelerate the build-out of floating wind farms, create opportunities for the UK supply chain and push for innovation in the manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance sectors.

EDP Renewables, ESB, Mainstream Renewable Power, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables, and Offshore Wind Power Ltd (OWPL) — a joint venture between the Green Investment Group and RIDG —complete the group.

While there are a handful of demonstration projects around Europe, large-scale floating wind projects remain unviable. To counter the obstacles facing floating wind, such as a lack of government subsidies  and a dedicated supply chain — with 60 types of floaters currently in existence — the new centre will help establish the next-generation of floating wind technologies, according to ORE Catapult.

The centre will initially focus on 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's head of offshore, will co-chair the centre's executive governance board alongside ORE Catapult’s performance director Chris Hill.

“Floating wind can be a catalyst for a robust global economic recovery as we exit the Covid-19 pandemic," Smith said.

Hill added that the new centre would “closely align” its projects and initiatives with regional governments, industry bodies and offshore wind business clusters around the UK. 

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