How the Offshore Wind Accelerator is reframing the energy landscape

2008 was an important year. First of all my daughter was born, which was a big event for me personally,  Barack Obama was elected as the next US president, which was a big event for the whole of the US. The UK parliament passed the Climate Change Act, which was a big step forward, not only for the offshore wind industry, but the country as a whole.

Looking back ten years the average turbine size was just under 3MW, with the scale of global installed capacity reaching a promising but modest 1.5GW, at a cost of around £170/MWh. It was at this point that the Carbon Trust realised that there was an opportunity to create a programme to bring leading companies together to accelerate the development of new innovations demanded by the market – the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA). Ten years on the OWA has delivered 150 R&D projects, globally we have 20GW of offshore wind capacity now installed worldwide and the cost in Europe is at an unprecedented low of £50/MWh.

Future projections forecast a further 100GW capacity to be installed over the next 10 years, which will require more innovation. The industry has experienced a substantial leap forward with a level of cost unexpected by many. We are proud of the contribution that the OWA has made to this incredible journey and we are excited about the impact we can have in the future to come. But cost reduction is only one aspect where innovation is critical to ensuring the future success of the sector. The OWA has helped to set the agenda for R&D in offshore wind, and in addition to reducing costs it also reduced the risk of projects.

This huge achievement is testament to the strong and longstanding support of the OWA partners, who not only funded research activities but also committed substantial resource and expertise to steer and guide the R&D activities. In our overview of 10 years, 10 innovations we have aimed to capture most but not all of the major innovations that the OWA has helped to bring to the market and we hope you enjoy reading about them all.