£10 million grants for UK offshore wind energy technology

Secretary of State Chris Huhne will announce the grants, totalling £10 million in a speech at the launch of the International Energy Agency’s Energy Technology Perspective report. £5 million of grants will be awarded to 7 UK companies and aim to increase the UK supply chain for offshore wind power.

A £5 million grant for Siemens Windpower, applied for under a previous round of funding was also confirmed today. Siemens will use the money to develop a next-generation 6 MW offshore wind turbines with an integrated foundation design in the UK.

Secretary of State Chris Huhne will say: “Offshore wind farm will be very significant in the energy mix as we move to low carbon, sustainable energy supplies. The UK has a wealth of natural resource and coastlines for offshore wind power. We are already world leaders in building offshore wind farm but we must do much, much more.

“These investments can help our own businesses reap the benefits of renewable energy and help lower costs to consumers.

“That’s why it’s important that we support UK supply chain companies even in these tough economic times with grants to help them develop technologies to fit the emerging market.”

The successful companies for the grants are:

JDR Cable Systems Ltd – Hartlepool: High Voltage Export & array cables for distribution of power from next generation, multi Megawatt wind turbines. £2,000,000.

Cooper Rolling Bearings – Kings Lynn Norfolk-Develop and demonstrate the use of split bearing technology in large scale wind applications. £256,250.

South Boats Special Projects Ltd – Isle of Wight-Modular design of offshore wind farm support vessels. £300,000.

MTL Group – Sheffield-Develop mass manufacturing techniques for jacket and monopile sub-assemblies. £250,000.

Blade Dynamics – Isle of Wight-Develop and demonstrate use of modular blade assembly. £400,000.

NGentec – Edinburgh-Develop and demonstrate new innovative 6 MW wind turbines. £800,000.

Converteam – Rugby-Large scale DC conversion technology. £1,000,000.

Earlier this year, DECC launched a competition for capital grants of between £250,000 and £2m, which would provide part-funding (typically at 25%) to commercial business for the development and demonstration of next generation technologies that can cut the cost of offshore wind turbines deployment between now and 2020.

This was built on two successful previous rounds of this scheme (which were aimed at larger companies, with a larger maximum grant size), which led to some significant supply chain developments, such as Clipper Windpower’s decision to start construction of a 10 MW blade factory, and Burntisland Fabricators Ltd’s decision to develop a mass-production manufacturing facility to produce jacket foundations for offshore wind turbines.

A spokesperson for NGenTec said: “This is great news for NGenTec and helps us with the funding required to commercialise out world leading British Generator technology developed at Edinburgh University. With the support of DECC this will help us create a large UK based business taking advantage of the huge growth in the offshore wind market initially in the UK.”

A spokesperson for JDR cable systems said: "We are delighted to be awarded this grant which will enable JDR to provide high voltage export cables (HVAC) for the rapidly growing offshore wind energy market, particularly for UK Round 3 projects. This £2m grant will contribute to an overall investment of £11m which will provide the necessary equipment to extend JDR’s manufacture of subsea cables from medium voltage to high voltage. These cables will be manufactured at JDR’s deepwater quayside factory in Hartlepool and will weigh up to 4000 tonnes. Such export cables have been identified as a bottleneck in the supply chain and with this investment JDR will become the only UK manufacturer of this vital connection.”

A spokesperson for Converteam said: "I am pleased at the announcement of DECC’s support to Converteam, the UK’s largest exporter to the Wind Industry, in building a full scale test and technology demonstration stand for game changing british wind power generation technology, at their Northern European Headquarters in Rugby, Warwickshire.

“In a four stage programme, Converteam will take their ‘DC Architecture’ through rigorous factory, onshore and offshore tests, to be proven in time for the start of The Crown Estate Round Three deployment phase.

“For a given investment, by producing and delivering more electricity, this targets the electrical components of making offshore wind power cost competitive with onshore wind"

Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, will give an introductory address at the presentation by Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the IEA, and his team of the key messages from the 2010 Energy Technology Perspectives report (ETP).