Friday, 22 February 2013

Scottish companies up for the offshore wind challenge?

R&D funding is available to support
the development of the offshore wind
 industry in Scotland, which it’s
 estimated has a direct market value
of over £7 billion.
Wanted – Scottish companies both large and small with ideas to help tackle some of the challenges facing the offshore wind industry in Scotland.

And there's funding available for the best projects, says development agencies Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The agencies have launched a research and development funding call to support project ideas with the potential to reduce the cost of producing energy from offshore wind.

The funding call is seeking projects that meet some of the challenges the industry faces regarding installation, operation and maintenance (IOM) from businesses of all sizes, located within Scotland.

Currently installation accounts for 11% of the cost of producing offshore wind energy, while operations and maintenance is 19%. It is estimated that the global spend on installation will have reached £24 billion by 2020 and at the same point global annual spend on operation and maintenance will stand at nearly £1.2 billion.

The call is looking to support solutions that could address improvements to component quality and reliability; new technologies to facilitate installation and access; or novel approaches to carrying out IOM and the logistics that will underpin IOM activities.

Andy McDonald, Director of Renewable Energy and Low Carbon Technology at Scottish Enterprise, said, "Offshore wind is rapidly expanding on the global stage and Scotland is becoming a key location for innovation in the industry – particularly in the development of the next generation of wind turbine technologies.

"Thanks to decades of experience in oil and gas, Scotland has built up world leading offshore engineering and technology expertise. However, we know that challenges still exist and we need to look at increasing innovation in the industry to ensure that offshore wind designs meet the challenges of operating at sea.

"We want to work with more Scottish companies with the potential to deliver innovative solutions to some of these challenges to ensure the industry reaches its full potential."

Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise said, "This innovation call provides companies in the Highlands and Islands and across Scotland with the opportunity to develop the critical new solutions which will be instrumental in cutting costs in the fast-growing offshore wind sector. Offshore wind will play a hugely significant role in meeting Scotland's energy targets, and innovation calls such as this will ensure that firms across Scotland will play a central role in this burgeoning industry."

Other priority areas include drive train design integration and alternative support structures and foundations for challenging environments. Further calls will be made in Spring and Summer 2013.

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