UK offshore wind towers above the rest

The offshore wind power supply chain got a double boost today as David Kidney, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, announced a major extension of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator programme worth up to £4.8m, and opened the UK’s first training tower for offshore wind energy.

The Offshore Wind Accelerator is a unique research and development collaboration between the Carbon Trust and leading offshore wind power developers that focuses on developing innovative technologies that have real potential to cut the cost of future wind farm developments.

David Kidney MP, who was in the North East to meet representatives from business and education to discuss skills and green jobs said: "Fighting climate change and ensuring our energy security is a challenge, but it’s also a massive opportunity – an opportunity for skills, jobs and investment. Research and development, and giving people the skills to build offshore wind farms will be vital to keeping the UK ahead of the world.

"As we build larger wind farms, in deeper waters, further from shore, we must work with industry to find and develop vital new technologies. The funding I’m announcing today will help companies drive down costs and share resources, which will benefit the entire industry here in the UK."

The Minister applauded the new training tower at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC) in Blyth, as he watched students from Northumberland College demonstrate the facility. He said:

"I’m really impressed with this brilliant new training facility. It will help people from the North East and across the UK to get the skills they need to help us generate more clean, green and secure wind energy."

Tom Delay, Chief Executive, the Carbon Trust said: "Today’s announcement shows the commitment to the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator and provides confidence in its ability to drive cost out of offshore wind deployment. We have seen many promising concepts and innovative solutions to the technology challenges that the offshore wind industry faces as it moves further offshore and this additional funding will help to scale up our activity and enable us to continue to drive costs out of this key technology."

The Offshore Wind Accelerator aims to drive down the cost of technology by pooling development and demonstration work on technologies that stand to benefit the whole offshore wind sector, such as innovative designs of foundation, or cheaper and safer ways of accessing wind turbines – and plans to leverage over £10m of additional investment by the project partners.