Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe (MPSE), SSE, Technip Offshore Wind and Wood Group Renewables have launched a research and development (R&D) initiative to address offshore wind’s main challenges and make the UK a leader in the sector.
The £33m (€40m) Efficient Offshore Wind Programme (EOWP) was unveiled on 23 July by the four companies and UK business minister Vince Cable.
The programme’s goal is to improve the sector's viability, lower operational costs and increase confidence in the UK offshore wind market. By 2015, the EOWP will have completed a number of projects focused on efficiency and cost effectiveness.
A memorandum of understanding between MPSE and the UK government created the programme in April 2010. It was awarded a £14m R&D grant, managed by the government-funded Technology Strategy Board.
SSE's managing director of group services, Jim McPhillimy, said he saw the EOWP as likely to provide "real breakthroughs" towards the UK government’s cost reduction goal. He called it "the next step towards a sustainable offshore wind industry".
MPSE chairman Akio Fukui said the programme was "a great opportunity" to further advance the development of its 7MW SeaAngel turbine. Cable said Mitsubishi's involvement demonstrated confidence in the UK's offshore wind strengths.
Wood Group expects to use the EOWP to transfer its oil and gas experience to the offshore wind power sector. David Hodkinson, Technip Offshore Wind's VP, UK Business Delivery, said the collaborative approach taken would help deliver "a long-term sustainable future" for the sector.