With the urgent need for decarbonisation, global offshore wind capacity is expected to increase dramatically.
Innovation is required to facilitate the rapid rollout of non-synchronous renewable generation and prevent grid balancing and stability challenges. Inertia in the GB grid is falling, which is already leading to curtailment of renewable generation. Without innovative, low-cost solutions, onshore grids will become weaker, which will lead to issues in system operation, and the curtailment of renewable generation, which will slow down the transition to net-zero. The issues presented by this problem include:
- Increased likelihood of instability events;
- Increased need for imported electricity;
- Maintaining reliance on synchronous fossil fuel generators on stand-by.
Preliminary work conducted within the Offshore Wind Accelerator, identified an opportunity to enable offshore wind farms to play a role in stabilising the onshore network using innovative technologies.
The INCENTIVE project was set up to build on this opportunity and has been competitively awarded funding. This project is funded by energy network users and consumers through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a programme from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem managed in partnership with Innovate UK, and via the Offshore Wind Accelerator. The project is investigating how the electrical grid can be strengthened by installing innovative energy storage and converter technologies at the point of onshore grid connection of offshore wind farms.
To build commercial confidence in the technologies, the project is being conducted in phases.
- The Discovery Phase - this was successfully conducted in early 2022, shortlisting technology solutions.
- The Alpha Phase - in late 2022, the selected technology solutions underwent further business case development, technical testing, and selection in this phase.
- The Beta Phase Stage 1 - this phase kicked off in July 2024 and is looking at three offshore wind farms on the GB network and using them as case studies to build technical confidence and workable business models to trigger first of a kind demonstration / implementation of the solutions.
- The Beta Phase Stage 2 – this phase will kick off in 2025 (subject to additional funding being secured) and will aim to be a first-of-a-kind demonstration of the innovative solutions at the offshore wind farms studied in Beta Phase Stage 1.
Project end dates
June 2022 (Discovery Phase)
January 2023 (Alpha Phase)
September 2024 (Beta Phase)
SSE Networks Transmission
SSEN Transmission, National Grid ESO, University of Strathclyde, The Carbon Trust, BP, EnBW, Equinor, Ocean Winds, Ørsted, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, SSE Renewables, TotalEnergies and Vattenfall, together with funding from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund.