The UK government has announced that it will provide £31.6million of funding for research into floating offshore wind, rising to more than £60million thanks to matching investment from private industry. The government hopes that the funding will eventually enable the deployment of floating turbines in some of the windiest regions around the UK’s coastline.
Eleven projects will each receive up to £10million to carry out research focused on areas such as how turbines are moored to the seabed, undersea cabling and the development of foundation solutions.
The UK is already home to the world’s largest deployment of offshore wind; however, floating turbines, which can be deployed in deeper waters than conventional turbines, will boost energy capacity even further by allowing wind farms to be situated in new areas around the UK coastline where wind strengths are at their highest and most productive.
The government is determined to strengthen domestic energy security by deploying home-grown renewable technologies that will reduce the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels – an issue of particular importance at the moment, with global gas prices currently at record highs.
Among the projects to receive funding is a collaborative scheme with bases in Edinburgh, Belfast, London and Doncaster that’s developing and demonstrating new technologies for mooring floating turbines to the seabed, cable protection, a floating turbine base design and an advanced digital monitoring system. Another project, with bases in Cambridge, Feltham, Aberdeen and Blyth, will receive £1million to develop a compact floating turbine foundation and anchors that would enable to deployment of a 2MW or larger turbine in UK waters.
The announcement of new funding follows an earlier announcement in October last year of £160million funding to develop and build new large-scale floating offshore wind ports and factories in the UK.
‘We are already a world leader in offshore wind, and floating technology is key to unlocking the full potential of the seas around Britain,’ said the energy minister, Greg Hands said. ‘These innovative projects will help us expand renewable energy further and faster across the UK and help to reduce our exposure volatile global gas prices.’