UK offshore wind power given £4m boost to help lower costs

Four pioneering businesses have been awarded over £4 million to boost innovation in lowering the costs of generating offshore wind energy, Energy Minister Greg Barker announced today.

The grants have been awarded to 2-B Energy, High Voltage Partial Discharge Ltd, SgurrControl Ltd and Ocean Resource Ltd as part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s innovation competition to support research and development into offshore wind power.

The winning projects will use the funding to steam-line the design and installation of offshore wind turbines, which could lead to significant reductions in the cost of offshore wind. For example, the 2-B Energy project has the potential to bring down the cost of offshore wind by as much as 35%.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “The UK is already the world leader in offshore wind – with more deployed than any other country.

“The benefits that offshore wind can bring are clear – from enhancing our energy security, reducing our dependence on imports and helping reduce our carbon emissions.

“Innovation is critical to cutting the cost of this low-carbon power source, which could in turn lead to lower bills for hardworking consumers. I wish the winners every success with their projects.”

Details of the grant-winning projects are:

• 2-B Energy has been awarded £2,792,280 to develop a novel two-bladed turbine supported by a full truss steel foundation for offshore wind applications. This approach has the potential to reduce the levelised cost of offshore wind energy by up to 35%. The pilot will be trialled onshore in the Netherlands initially, then the technology is expected to be tested at an offshore site near Methil, Fife. 2-B Energy has secured an overall investment package of €26.5 million to help commercialise its innovative offshore wind technology. The funding consortium comprises a collaborative, multi-national group of private and public sector partners, including 2-B’s current majority shareholder and lead investor Truffle Capital; and minority partners PPM Oost and Shell, Rabobank, Agentchap, and Scottish Enterprise as well as DECC.

• High Voltage Partial Discharge Ltd has been awarded £900,370 to develop and trial a new type of monitoring technology that will provide early warning of faults in HVDC cables and direct preventative maintenance to help improve operating efficiency. The project will be led by HVPD of Manchester in partnership with Alstom Grid, The University of Strathclyde and a number of European HVDC cable operators.

• SgurrControl Ltd, based in Glasgow, has been awarded £667,000 to develop a control system that will reduce the stress placed on turbine blades. The aim is to increase the lifetime of wind turbines and reduce the cost of energy. The system will be operated to test and validate the concept and demonstrate its advantages to industry. The project will be led by SgurrControl in partnership with Romax Technology Ltd and Blaaster Wind Technologies AS.

• Ocean Resource Ltd, based in South Wales, has been awarded £216,442 to develop an offshore wind turbine that is assembled and commissioned on-shore and towed fully assembled for site installation using tugs. Onshore commissioning and the elimination of heavy lift installation vessels offer the potential for the design to reduce the levelised cost of offshore wind energy for the UK and overseas markets by up to 15%.