United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Scotland offers £15m for deep water demonstrations

New funding could be key to go-ahead for Statoil's Hywind project

A £15m fund to encourage development of offshore wind foundation technology suitable for deep water sites has been announced by Scottish energy minister, Fergus Ewing. The scheme is designed to support demonstration projects, such as Statoil’s plan to install several Hywind floating prototypes off Peterhead.

The goal of the Scottish Innovation Foundation Technologies Fund is to provide about 20-30% of the total cost of deep-water trials ready for installation between 2015 and 2017. Applicants must demonstrate an impact on the Scottish economy in terms of gross value added (GVA) as well as a high likelihood that their technology would generate manufacturing jobs in Scotland, eventually.

The fund is earmarked for technology for deployment in water depths exceeding 30m. Initial expressions of interest are due by 24 May, with a second funding call planned for next spring. The fund will be managed by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

As recently reported by Windpower Offshore, Statoil is seeking to extend exclusive rights over a deep water site off Peterhead. It would like to use the site to install several Hywind floating platforms mounted with turbines, but the company has been delaying a final decision on the project. It has been awaiting news from the Scottish government about whether a higher level of financial support for floating demonstration projects would be made available. Today’s announcement appears to represents the answer.

Statoil is also working on a Hywind demonstration project earmarked for waters off the US state of Maine. Its successful single turbine Hywind trial in Norwegian waters has been operating since September 2009.

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