UK backs offshore wind cost-cutters

Offshore wind 'creates higher social benefits and lower social costs than other power sector'

The UK government hopes to help drive down the costs of offshore wind production

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has handed out more than £4m ($6.6m) to four technology companies angling to slash the cost of offshore wind energy.

The grants, awarded under DECC’s Offshore Component Technologies Scheme, have been awarded to 2-B Energy, High Voltage Partial Discharge (HVPD), SgurrControl and Ocean Resource.

“The UK is already the world leader in offshore wind – with more deployed than any other country," says energy and climate change minister Greg Barker.

“The benefits that offshore wind can bring are clear – from enhancing our energy security, reducing our dependence on imports and helping reduce our carbon emissions. Innovation is critical to cutting the cost of this low-carbon power source."

UK-Dutch outfit 2-B Energy, which is backed by finance from Truffle Capital, PPM Oost and Shell, Rabobank, Agentchap, and Scottish Enterprise as well as DECC, has been awarded almost £2.8m to fine-tune its novel two-bladed turbine with trussed steel foundation concept.

The design, calculated to cut the levelised cost of offshore wind energy by up to 35%, will be prototype tested onshore in the Netherlands first, followed by further trials offshore at Methil, Scotland. 

HVPD, working with Alstom Grid, the University of Strathclyde and a number of European HVDC cable operators, won just over £900,000 to develop and trial a new type of monitoring technology that flags up faults in high-voltage direct current cables.

SgurrControl pocketed £667,000 for a control system, being developed with Romax and Blaaster Wind Technologies, designed to extend the life-time of wind turbine rotors by lessening loads carried by the blades.

Ocean Resource has been awarded £216,000 to flesh out an offshore wind turbine concept that is assembled and commissioned on-shore and towed fully assembled for site installation using tugs.

The UK government targets paring down the cost of offshore wind energy to £100/MWh by 2020. The current figure hovers around the £140/MWh mark.

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