A £15 million fund to develop deep-water foundations for wind turbines has been announced by energy minister Fergus Ewing.
• £15 million fund for development of prototype deep-water foundations for wind turbines announced
• Foundation structures account for about 16 per cent of total offshore wind project costs
• Fund is hoped to pioneer development that could make savings of about 9 per cent
The award will help maintain Scotland’s position as an attractive place for renewable energy investment, Mr Ewing said.
The Scottish Innovative Foundation Technologies Fund will support the development of prototype foundations for offshore wind turbines sited in water more than 30 metres deep.
It will operate over a two-year period and is now open for applications from projects meeting the criteria.
Mr Ewing said: “Offshore wind is one of the world’s most exciting clean-tech sectors where Scotland already plays a leading role.
“Scotland pioneered the world’s first deep-water offshore wind development and our innovation and offshore engineering expertise will play an increasingly important role as the industry moves to harness the wind further offshore - where both the energy resources and the technical challenges are greater.”
Mr Ewing said the work will help lower the costs of building the foundations needed for wind turbines in deeper water and more varied seabed conditions.
Foundation structures currently account for about 16 per cent of total offshore wind project costs and it has been estimated that innovation in this area could lead to a 9 per cent saving.
Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We know that our offshore wind sector has huge economic potential and this fund will make a significant contribution to helping reduce the costs of offshore wind and creating an internationally-renowned industry in Scotland.”
The investment was welcomed by environmental charity WWF Scotland.
Director Lang Banks said: “Scotland has an estimated quarter of Europe’s total offshore wind and tidal resource.
“To be fully able to tap into that potential we need to develop ways to operate offshore, especially in deeper waters, and this Government support will help to do this.”