United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK and US to cooperate on floating turbine technology

Energy ministers plan joint effort on floating technology

UK energy minister Ed Davey and US energy secretary Stephen Chu are set to forge an agreement on the joint development of floating offshore wind technology

The announcement precedes this week's 'Clean Energy Ministerial' in London, which will be attended by 23 energy ministers from around the world.

In a statement, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said that both the USA and the UK would provide funding for the research venture.

With 33GW of offshore wind projects planned for its Round 3 programme and a large near-shore area available for development, it is not clear that the UK has any pressing need for floating technology.

Japan has announced its intention to develop floating offshore wind technology, reflecting the fact that it has very little in the way of shallow waters off its coastline. For the most part, Japan’s coastal waters are too deep for conventional offshore foundations.

Speaking about the UK-US move, Davey said: "Floating wind turbines will allow us to exploit more of our wind resource, potentially more cheaply. Turbines will be able to locate in ever deeper waters where the wind is stronger but without the expense of foundations down to the seabed or having to undertake major repairs out at sea".

Currently, neither the US nor UK has any floating projects, however, Norwegian state oil company Statoil has submitted a request for a commercial lease to build a wind farm off Maine using its floating wind turbine technology. It is also set to build a project off the Scottish coast.

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