Offshore wind supply chain gets a lift thanks to innovation tie-up

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Two leading players in the renewables field have forged an alliance to advance cost reduction and safety in offshore wind operations.

Vattenfall, the Swedish energy group, and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult will collaborate to give firms the opportunity to test and demonstrate new technology in real-world operating conditions at Vattenfall’s dedicated offshore deployment centre, off Aberdeen.

The Catapult will manage engagement with innovators in the offshore wind supply chain and educational institutions to promote test and demonstration opportunities at the centre. It will also support Vattenfall’s selection process and the review and communication of results.

Gunnar Groebler, head of Vattenfall’s business area wind, said: “Vattenfall has already delivered innovation-driven cost reduction in offshore wind with the deployment of game changing technology at the EOWDC [European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre], supported by the Scottish Government, Crown Estate Scotland and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.

“Now we want to continue that pioneering spirit, in collaboration with ORE Catapult, by demonstrating the potential of UK innovators’ ideas to reduce costs and improve safety at an operating wind farm. We do that, and we get to freedom from fossil fuel faster.”

The EOWDC is an offshore wind test and demonstration facility. It recently completed the installation of 11 innovative wind turbines and foundations and is expected to be fully operational later this summer.

Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s operational performance director, said: “The collaboration with Vattenfall on EOWDC provides a unique opportunity for UK innovators to work with ORE Catapult to bring new technologies to market through testing in a controlled real-world environment.

“To meet the sector’s ambitious targets, innovation is going to be a key enabler. Facilitating technology demonstration opportunities is the next logical step for innovators in the de-risking process.”

Jean Morrison, chair of the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, added: “From the beginning, we always envisioned the EOWDC as a pioneering project that would help drive down the costs of offshore wind.

“The North-east of Scotland is emerging as an international centre of offshore wind innovation and this partnership… provides an exciting opportunity for the industry to learn and take this knowledge forward to future projects.”