The Scottish Government invests £1.5 million into OWA to drive cost reduction in offshore wind

The OWA brings new technologies to market faster, which are critical for a healthy and sustainable industry, as well as creating new industry standards and best practice. The innovations supported through the OWA will ultimately help to reduce the cost of offshore wind and ensure the full potential of offshore wind energy is realised. The programme brings together nine of the largest offshore wind developers in Europe; DONG Energy, EnBW, E.ON, Iberdrola, innogy, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.

The Scottish Government’s decision to invest a further £1.5 million into the OWA is a ringing endorsement of the great potential of this programme to help Scotland to utilise the full potential of offshore wind, and to ensure that we make it as affordable as possible. The Carbon Trust have done a fantastic job so far in reducing the costs of offshore wind, as well as encouraging collaboration across the public and private sectors to improve the industry as a whole. The potential benefits of offshore wind energy in Scotland are enormous, which is why the Scottish Government is committed to its development. By continuing to invest in it, not only are we stimulating economic change for the better, but we’re also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland and helping to fight the impacts of climate change.

- Paul Wheelhouse, Energy Minister

The Scottish Government’s £1.5 million investment into the programme, alongside nine of the biggest developers in Europe, shows there is real confidence in the ability of the OWA to continue to deliver cost reductions. This continuing support and investment into the programme has helped to reduce the costs of offshore wind and helped to pave the way towards a subsidy free energy source.

- Jan Matthiesen, Director, Carbon Trust

In July 2016, the Carbon Trust revealed details of its new European phase of its OWA. This was enhanced by an initial £1.5 million of funding from the Scottish Government for the first year. Today’s announcement markets a renewed investment for a second year to continue to support further the progress of offshore wind energy in Scotland.

Set up in 2008, the OWA programme has been the driving force behind a range of new innovations in the offshore wind sector such as; developing and demonstrating new foundations; the development and adoption of 66kV cabling; setting new design standards for monopiles, driving industry acceptance of floating LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology and new innovative access vessels and installation methods.

Over the past 9 years, the OWA programme has delivered nearly 150 projects, ranging from feasibility studies to multi-million pound, full-scale technology demonstrations. The projects undertaken by the OWA programme are selected to impact the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE) by improving performance in offshore wind farm design, construction and operation.

Due to the continued support from the Scottish Government the Carbon Trust can continue to fund projects in the three following areas:

  • Continuing to explore the opportunity that offshore wind offers to Scotland
  • Encouraging international collaboration on offshore wind developers’ most pressing problems, specifically addressing how developers working in Scottish waters can make offshore wind more efficient
  • Sharing knowledge on innovation and cost reduction between partners

With the support of Scottish Government, the programme has succeeded in significantly reducing the costs of offshore wind and provided opportunities for the UK supply chain. The OWA’s approach is today seen as a world-leading model for collaboration between the public and private sectors to bring a technology to commercial competitiveness.

One example of this collaborative R&D is a project which has recently started to improve fatigue life of welded jacket connections (JaCo). The aim of this project is to improve the evidence-base on the real-world performance of welds to prove that they are more durable than currently estimated, which would result in a decrease of the weight of new jacket structures, consequently lowering costs. Among other fabricators and stakeholders, the OWA is working with Fife-based Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab).

Read more on the Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator