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UK Offshore wind innovation benefits from £6.3 million funding boost

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The latest winners of the Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration scheme have just been announced.
UK Offshore wind innovation benefits from £6.3 million funding boost

Innovation in the offshore wind sector has just been given a major boost with the announcement of the first three winners under the second call of the Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration scheme, organised by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). A fourth round of this competition has also been launched.

High Voltage Partial Discharge (HVPD) Ltd, JDR Cable Systems Ltd and Principle Power have received nearly £2.3million under the £5million second call of competition which was launched in May last year. The money will be used to develop a range of novel ideas intended to cut costs and drive growth in the offshore wind sector. These ideas include the design of an integrated offshore high voltage network management system, development of innovative HVAC cables and the creation of new floating foundations for wind turbines.

This money will be used for a range of novel ideas to help cut costs and drive forward growth in the offshore wind sector, including design of an integrated offshore high voltage network management system, development of innovative HVAC cables, and the creation of new floating foundations for wind turbines.

Offshore wind has an enormous amount of potential to reduce UK reliance on fossil fuels, helping to reduce carbon and meeting the country’s renewable energy targets. The key to improving efficiency in the sector is innovation which has the potential to significantly drive down costs by 25 percent by 2020 and 60 percent by 2050, however further investment is needed in the sector.

“This £2.3million will give three more companies the boost they need to take their innovative designs to the next level, helping cut costs in offshore wind generation, and ultimately helping us harness more power from turbines out at sea” said Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker. “I wish High Voltage Partial Discharge Ltd, JDR Cable Systems Ltd and Principle Power (Europe) Ltd every success with their projects. I am also pleased to announce the launch of a £4million fourth round of this competition and would encourage organisations with innovative ideas to apply.”

Dr Lee Renforth, the Managing Director of HVPD commented that the DECC grant will help the company to develop a new Offshore High Voltage Network Monitoring System (OHVMS), a ‘holistic’ electrical condition monitoring technology for the offshore wind farms subsea cable networks. The technology will be developed over an 18-month period through a consortium led by HVPD and including RWE Npower, NAREC and the Universities of Edinburgh and Durham.

“The OHVMS system will provide an advanced, ‘early warning’ alarm against MV/HV cable insulation faults to support preventative, cable repair maintenance interventions and to improve the reliability and availability of this important source of renewables electricity” Dr Renforth said. “The DECC funding will enable HVPD to significantly reduce the development time for the new OHVMS condition monitoring system with the DECC project scheduled for completion in 18 months (to pre-production) whilst, it is predicted that without the grant, HVPD would have required a 4-year development period to finance and deliver the project.”

The funding will also help JDR to conduct new research into high voltage array cabling, further driving down the cost of offshore wind. It will also help with the introduction of alternative materials for the design of high voltage cables. Principle Power will benefit from funding by enabling the company to advance the design of the WindFloat with the main focus being the meeting of Offshore Wind Task Force levelised cost of energy (LCOE) targets.

“The WindFloat’s innovative features allow offshore wind installations, independent of water depth, where the wind is stronger and more consistent” said Alla Weinstein, CEO of Principle Power. “The WindFloat eliminates the need for seabed-disturbing foundation structures and can be sited to avoid conflicts with other marine uses. With nearly 55% of UK Round 3 sites having water depth of greater than 40 meters, project developers and utilities can realise significant economic benefits from WindFloat systems and reduced complexity in their project contracts. Principle Power will be working with TAG Energy Solutions, its project partner, on defining methodology for the WindFloat serial production using UK based industrial infrastructure.”

DECC has also launched a £4 million fourth call of the scheme and there is a rolling call for the competition over the next few months. Applications must be received by DECC by noon on day 15 of each month starting 15th March 2013. Further winners of the second call and winners of the £7 million third call, launched in November 2012, will be announced later this year.

Further information:

Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

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