North Sea oil giants Shell and Total have joined a UK floating offshore wind consortium created to drive forward the technology.
The oil firms will work alongside offshore wind developers EDF Renewables, EDP Renewables, Equinor, ESB, Mainstream Renewable Power, ScottishPower Renewables and SSE Renewables as part of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s national Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence (FOWCoE).
The centre will work on floating wind activity in the UK across four key work streams – technology development, supply chain and operations, development and consent, and delivering net zero.
It hopes to reduce the cost of energy from floating wind, accelerate the build-out of floating farms, create opportunities for the UK supply chain, as well as driving innovations in manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance.
Mainstream Renewables Power’s Cameron Smith, who will co-chair the FOWCoE’s executive governance board alongside ORE Catapult’s Chris Hill, said: “The advancement of floating wind technologies is seen as vital if the country is to deliver on its ambitious offshore wind growth target of 40 gigawatts by 2030 and meet our net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
“It can also be a catalyst for a robust global economic recovery as we exit the Covid-19 pandemic. In the UK alone, studies have shown that floating wind could create 17,000 jobs and generate £33.6 billion for the UK economy by 2050.”
The FOWCoE, launched in November, is backed by £500,000 funding from the Scottish Government alongside match funding from the industry and the Offshore Renewable Energy (Ore) Catapult’s Welsh-based Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE).
It will work with the UK Government, Scottish Government, Opportunity North East (ONE), the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), the Deepwind Offshore Wind Cluster and Crown Estate Scotland.
Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s operational performance director added: “Our team of innovation experts and engineers here at ORE Catapult are very much looking forward to working with our stakeholders, industrial and academic partners to accelerate floating offshore wind technology deployment.
“We’ll work together to de-risk and encourage innovation to ensure we deliver UK economic benefit from the global growth of floating offshore wind – growing local supply chains and delivering UK content and jobs as the economy emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.”