Burbo offshore windfarm

The Offshore Wind Accelerator

The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind, overcome market barriers, develop industry best practice and trigger the development of new industry standards

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About the Programme

The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is Carbon Trust's flagship collaborative RD&D programme. The joint initiative was set up between the Carbon Trust and nine offshore wind developers in 2008. The current phase involves nine offshore wind developers; these OWA partners account for 76% of Europe’s installed offshore wind capacity. The OWA programme aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind to be competitive with conventional energy generation, as well as provide insights regarding industry standard (and best practice) health and safety requirements.

Cost reduction is achieved through innovation. Technology challenges are identified and prioritised by the OWA partners based on the likely savings and the potential for the OWA to influence the outcomes. Projects are carried out to address these challenges, often using international competitions to inspire innovation and identify the best new ideas. The most promising concepts are developed, de-risked and commercialised as the OWA works closely with innovators and the supply chain throughout the process.

The OWA model brings together Carbon Trust's expertise in delivering innovation and convening industry consortiums with the industrial partners' technical knowledge and resources. The OWA core programme is part funded by the Scottish Government with the remaining funding coming from industry. Other funding sources are utilised on a project specific basis.

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.

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Scottish Government


10 years of accelerating innovation

A summary of the impact of the Offshore Wind Accelerator

10 years of the Offshore Wind Accelerator

Read more:

Press release, July 2016: European offshore wind developers join forces with the Carbon Trust to slash costs of offshore wind

Offshore wind power: big challenge, big opportunity (PDF)

OWA Structure

Research areas

The OWA is structured around five research areas: ‘Access Systems’, ‘Cable Installation’, ‘Electrical Systems’, ‘Foundations’, and ‘Wake Effects and Wind Resource’. Each area is directed by a Technical Working Group  consisting of highly skilled experts from each of the OWA partners. The working groups, managed by the Carbon Trust, meet regularly to discuss the challenges in each of the research areas and track the progress of ongoing projects. The Steering Committee oversees the strategic direction for the overall programme and is made up of senior representatives from the 9 OWA partners.

The Carbon Trust manages each of the workstreams for the OWA partners; this includes supporting the innovators and designers of new concepts with potential to reduce the cost of offshore wind, initiation and management of research projects, running industry competitions, engaging with the wider offshore wind industry, and securing public or private match funding for selected projects.

Common and discretionary projects

There are two types of OWA projects; common and discretionary. Common projects comprise the core OWA programme and all OWA partners are involved. Common projects are generally desk based or research studies. Discretionary projects may involve all or just some of the OWA partners, and certain discretionary projects can be open for non-OWA partners to join. Discretionary projects also differ from the common R&D programme as they are generally demonstration projects rather than research studies. For further information on any of the projects, please contact OWA@CarbonTrust.com


OWA Research areas

OWA Partners

The Offshore Wind Accelerator is part funded by the Scottish Government with the remaining funding coming from industry. The Carbon Trust's OWA industrial partners are nine international energy companies:

  • EnBW, one of the largest energy supply companies in Germany and Europe
  • E.ON, Germany's largest utility
  • Innogy SE, Europe-wide renewables business of the former German RWE group
  • Ørsted, leading Danish offshore wind farm developer with over 20 years' experience
  • Scottish Power Renewables/Iberdrola, a leading developer of onshore and offshore wind in Europe
  • Shell, international energy company
  • SSE Renewables, the renewable energy development division of Scottish and Southern Energy
  • Equinor, Norwegian international energy company
  • Vattenfall Wind Power, Swedish state owned company and is one of Europe's largest generators of electricity


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