Energy Secretary announces further investment in offshore wind innovation projects

Energy Secretary Edward Davey has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the renewable energy sector, as further investment in offshore wind innovation projects was announced.

Speaking at the Renewable UK conference in Birmingham, Edward Davey said:

“The renewable energy sector has the potential to support over 35,000 jobs and is crucial to green growth and energy security.

“A mix of technologies is vital to secure Britain’s energy supplies and reduce the environmental impact of powering our homes and businesses.

“The private sector has announced investment of £31 billion in renewable electricity generation over the last three years, and the UK remains one of the most attractive electricity investment markets anywhere in the world.”

The UK is the world leader in offshore wind power generation, with more capacity than any other country. Renewable energy capacity has increased by almost 40 per cent since 2012, with renewables now supplying a record of over 15 per cent share of electricity generation – around half way to the Government’s 2020 renewable electricity goals.

Four offshore wind projects will receive a share of £2.5m Government investment under the Offshore Wind Component Technologies Scheme to develop technologies which cut the cost of offshore wind energy:

– Ricardo UK Ltd – awarded £634,980 to develop and demonstrate its Offshore Wind Drivetrain Innovation technologies which are expected to increase the reliability and lifetime of drivetrains for large offshore wind systems.

– Nottingham-based TetraFloat Ltd – awarded £134,000 to validate and improve a novel floating platform design.

– Blade Dynamics Ltd – awarded £842,630 to design, evaluate, build and test an innovative composite wind turbine hub. This will reduce the loads on the entire turbine, tower and foundation.

– SSE Renewables UK Ltd – awarded a grant of £1 million for their National Offshore Wind Turbine Test Facility project. Among other things this will test foundations, logistics, and grid integration on Siemens 6MW pre-production turbine.

This scheme is part of a package of support being provided by members of the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG), who together are providing over £100 million of targeted financial support to develop innovative offshore wind technologies between 2011 and 2015.

Edward Davey continued: “Investment in innovation now will improve the affordability of the technologies we deploy in the future; reduce bills for households and businesses; and strengthen energy security by offering a range of technology options for the UK to deploy.

“Successful innovation could save the UK up to £160 billion in energy supply costs to 2050 and contribute up to £89 billion to the UK economy over the same period.”

The investment was announced as DECC published an update to the Renewable Energy Roadmap which shows that the last year has been one of the most successful years ever for Britain’s renewable energy drive, with big leaps forward in actual deployment and newly announced projects – and research which showed that 76 per cent of the public support the use of renewables to generate electricity, heat and create fuels.