The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) backed offshore wind research and innovation (R&I) programme is set to launch an innovation call to help deliver projects.
The first in a series of innovation calls from the Orkney-backed £1 million programme has opened for applications, with up to £300,000 available to projects.
The group behind the innovation call says the aim is to explore ways to overcome specific technical challenges in offshore wind and to embed the economic benefits in the north of Scotland.
Dr Heather Turnbull, Offshore Wind R&I Programme project manager at EMEC, said: “The innovation calls have been designed to support companies explore ways to overcome the technical challenges facing offshore wind developments, giving them the tools needed to help build out offshore wind projects throughout Scotland, the UK and further afield.
“We’re also looking to bring in additional industry sponsors to broaden the remit of the programme to other offshore wind developments across the region.”
West of Orkney Windfarm support
The series of innovation calls will address different challenge areas facing the West of Orkney Windfarm, spanning metocean, installation, logistics, and operations and maintenance (O&M).
Mike Hay, Deputy Project Director at the West of Orkney Windfarm, said: “Although focussed on the West of Orkney Windfarm, we expect the outputs of this programme to have much wider implications on the delivery of offshore wind projects in challenging marine environments.
“The Offshore Wind R&I Programme could therefore also help embed a successful supply chain opportunity in Scotland that could go beyond West of Orkney Windfarm to work on projects internationally.”
A consortium of Corio Generation, TotalEnergies and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) secured rights to develop the 2GW West of Orkney Windfarm as part of the ScotWind leasing round in January 2022.
The development is located around 19 miles off the island’s west coast and was understood to be the first ScotWind project to submit offshore consent documents.
EMEC has said that additional funding, to the £300,000, may be made available to those with the potential to have the biggest impact on the wind farm.
Dr Turnbull added: “Working with the West of Orkney Windfarm, we’re aiming to accelerate innovation in the north of Scotland, reducing the time, cost and risk of offshore wind roll out, while enhancing supply chain capacity in the region.
“This programme aims to help businesses grow and create jobs, bringing skills, capabilities and economic benefit closer to wind farm projects.”
Challenges to tackle
The first innovation call is now open and is looking for solutions that address at least one of the two challenges outlined.
The first of which is: “Understanding metocean conditions at and en route to the West of Orkney Windfarm site, to inform decision making on installation and O&M activities.”
The second challenge that prospective projects can tackle is: “Design for short-weather window installations to maximise opportunities for efficient installation.”
The innovation call will close at 1 pm, Monday 12 February 2024 and a webinar will be held at midday on Friday 12 January to give an overview of the programme, innovation calls and what’s on offer to potential applicants.
Prospective applicants can register for the webinar here.