The Scottish Government has announced an additional £1.5 million investment in the development of offshore wind production in a bid to stimulate innovation in the sector.
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse hailed the boost for the Carbon Trust’s world-leading development and demonstration programme, known as the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), during a visit to Fife on Wednesday.
He said it would help Scotland to utilise the full potential of offshore wind and make it as affordable as possible.
Mr Wheelhouse was at the BiFab yard in Methil, which is likely to receive some benefit from the new funding through its work with the OWA.
The company is involved in a project to improve the fatigue life of welded jacket connections which will ultimately make turbine jackets lighter and less expensive.
Funding will also continue for other projects to explore potential opportunities that offshore wind can offer to Scotland, ultimately leading to a reduction in costs.
The schemes chosen will be those which encourage international collaboration and knowledge-sharing between offshore wind developers.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government’s decision to invest a further £1.5m into the OWA is a ringing endorsement of the great potential of this programme.
“The Carbon Trust has done a fantastic job so far in reducing the costs of offshore wind as well as encouraging collaboration across the public and private sectors to improve the industry as a whole.
“The potential benefits of offshore wind energy in Scotland are enormous, which is why the Scottish Government is committed to its development.”
The minister said that by investing in the sector, the Scottish Government was not only stimulating economic change for the better but was helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight the impacts of climate change.
The OWA programme brings together nine of the largest offshore wind developers in Europe – DONG Energy, EnBW, E.ON, Iberdrola, innogy, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.
Carbon Trust director Jan Matthiesen said the funding, alongside investment by nine of the biggest developers in Europe, showed confidence in the OWA to continue to develop cost reductions.
“This signals continuing support and investment into a programme that has helped to reduce the costs of offshore wind and helped to pave the way towards a subsidy free energy source.”