Development agency Highlands & Islands Enterprise has commissioned a consortium of consultancies to examine eight onshore sites as potential locations for testing offshore wind technology. It asked them to identify the sites that best suit the practical needs of offshore developers and equipment manufacturers.
The consortium will be led by one of the UK’s leading names in wind energy consultancy, Atmos Consulting, supported by URS and the German Wind Energy Institute (Dewi).
The UK lacks sufficient sites – both on and offshore – for testing offshore technology. Unless more test sites are developed, some Round 3 offshore wind projects could be delayed, since developers will not purchase equipment that has not been sufficiently tested.
Two offshore test facilities are in development in the UK, one in north east England, off Blyth, and one off Aberdeen, in north east Scotland. The Crown Estate is concerned about the lack of facilities in the UK for testing offshore wind equipment. It may announce plans to support such facilities in the autumn.