Scots back offshore wind innovation

The Scottish government has awarded £2.2m ($3.77m) to a major Carbon Trust programme designed to achieve a 10% cut in the cost of offshore wind power.

The funding will go to the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), a joint industry and government scheme,  which brings together nine developers accounting for almost three-quarters of the UK's licensed capacity.

Scotland will invest £200,000 in the OWA initiative in 2014-2015, with the remaining £2m given in 2015-16.  

The finance will encourage collaboration between the developers in order to address cost reduction in Scottish waters, said Holyrood.

It will be used to help share knowledge on foundations and installations, operations and maintenance, wind farm layout, electrical systems and cable installation. It will also support the commercialisation of floating wind turbines in Scottish waters.

“Scotland is home to around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource and we are keen to support its development as part of our energy mix,” said First Minister Alex Salmond.

“Our support for the OWA further highlights Scotland’s position as a global leader in renewables development.”

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish government to drive further costs reductions in the offshore wind industry.

“The sector has huge potential to generate low carbon power and create economic value. Key to that success will be driving costs down through innovation and doing this quickly,” he added.

“Studies estimate that Scotland’s offshore wind industry could create 28,000 jobs by 2020 and contribute over £7bn of investment into the economy,” said WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer,  Gina Hanrahan.

The nine offshore wind developers are Dong Energy, E.ON, Mainstream Renewable Power, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.