Scottish Enterprise has welcomed the official opening of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Glasgow today (Thursday 13th March 2014) which marks a significant step forward on Scotland’s journey towards being a major player in the global renewables sector.
“Offshore wind has huge potential for Scotland, and the new Catapult comes at a critical time in the industry’s development. By bringing together the public and private sector in partnership with academia, its work will help address key issues such as cost reduction, and further develop a globally competitive renewable energy business environment.”
The Catapult is based in Scottish Enterprise’s inovo building, part of the International Renewable Energy Zone in Glasgow.
Seonaid Vass added:
“Inovo, together with the University of Strathclyde’s Technology Innovation Centre will help bridge the gap between industry and academia by offering co-location opportunities and creating the right environment for industry to harness cutting edge research and the industry in the future.
“The building is already home to a number of companies operating in the sector, and Catapult’s decision to be based here will help foster key links across the industry.”
Background on ITREZ
ITREZ, Scotland’s International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone, is an alliance of the public, private and academic sectors that aims to stimulate co-location, innovation, investment and job creation in the offshore renewable energy (offshore wind, wave and tidal) and associated enabling technologies sectors.
Centred in Glasgow ITREZ has at its core the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) together with Scottish Enterprise’s industry engagement building, inovo, acting as a hub location.
Launched in 2011, ITREZ is anticipated to create around 700 new jobs and £100 million of GVA for Scotland’s economy.
Scottish Power Renewables Update on Argyll Array Offshore Windfarm
Following detailed technical and environmental site studies, ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) has confirmed that they will not be taking forward their lease option to develop the Argyll Array Offshore Windfarm in the near future. The company has stated that the project may be viable to reconsider as offshore wind technology develops in the longer term, but estimates that will not be within the next decade.
ScottishPower Renewables has been working on the Argyll Array project since 2009, and a variety of detailed technical and environmental studies have been completed as part of their initial development work. These studies have been thoroughly reviewed over the last 12 months in order to evaluate the viability of the project and on the basis of these findings, a decision not to progress the project, has been taken by both ScottishPower Renewables and The Crown Estate.
The main issues affecting the progression of the project are the ground conditions in the site, particularly the presence of hard rock, coupled with challenging wave conditions which could impact construction. Beyond this, there is a significant presence of basking sharks, which environmental groups continue to study to get a greater understanding of their movements in the area.
Jonathan Cole, Head of Offshore Wind at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “We believe it is possible to develop the Argyll Array site, it has the some of the best wind conditions of any offshore zone in the UK.
“However, it is our view that the Argyll Array project is not financially viable in the short term. As cost reductions continue to filter through the offshore wind industry, and as construction techniques and turbine technology continues to improve, we believe that the Argyll Array could become a viable project in the long term.
“The rate of progress in development of foundation and installation technology has been slower than anticipated. The current outlook for offshore wind deployment in the UK suggests this will not significantly improve in the short term. This supports the view that it could take 10-15 years for the required technology improvements to be available for this project.
“The Crown Estate agrees with our findings and development work will cease on the project with immediate effect. This will give ScottishPower Renewables the opportunity to fully construct the West of Duddon Sands project with DONG Energy, and continue development work on the East Anglia Zone with Vattenfall.”
The Crown Estate manages the seabed around the UK, including leasing for offshore renewable energy projects. The organisation, which works on a commercial basis with profits paid to the UK Government, does not regulate or give planning consent for projects.
Ronnie Quinn who leads The Crown Estate’s Scottish Energy & Infrastructure team said: “While there is an excellent wind resource at the Argyll Array site, both organisations agree that the project should not proceed at this point in time. Developers have to take a wide range of factors into account when preparing to apply for planning consent – this decision by The Crown Estate and SPR follows a very thorough assessment of all those factors. We look forward to continuing to work with ScottishPower Renewables on other sites and programmes.”
ScottishPower Renewables continues to demonstrate commitment to offshore wind in the UK, with the 389MW West of Duddon Sands project currently under construction in the Irish Sea with DONG Energy. An application for consent was also submitted in 2012 with Vattenfall for the East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm, which could have a capacity of up to 1200MW.
The renewable energy developer Mainstream Renewable Power is deploying the North Sea’s first commercial floating LiDAR wind measurement device to support the proposed 450MW Neart Na Gaoithe offshore windfarm.
Dutch technology provider, FLiDAR will launch its floating LiDAR device at the site 16km off the coast of Fife early in 2014.
The state-of-the-art measuring equipment includes a Leosphere LiDAR adapted to be mounted on a standard marine buoy. It’s powered by its own renewable energy system comprising solar photovoltaic and wind power technology.
David Sweenie, offshore manager Scotland, Mainstream Renewable Power, said: “This announcement underpins our commitment to innovation and to the adoption of the technologies that have the potential to drive down the cost of offshore wind.”
Prior to its launch, the floating LiDAR will also be the first device to be validated at Narec’s newly installed Offshore Anemometry and Research Platform located off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland.
The prototype was validated earlier this year in the Irish Sea as part of the UK’s Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator programme, which served to add to for the commercial market.
Neart Na Gaoithe is seen as a flagship project for offshore renewables in Scotland and is a key project in Mainstream’s global portfolio.
The project received planning consent for the onshore works connected to the windfarm in June 2013 and a decision on the offshore elements is expected by the end of 2013.
FLiDAR is a joint venture between renewable energy consultancy 3E and Offshore & Wind Assistance, a subsidiary of marine contractor Geosea.
Fife College offers training for the offshore wind industry
The Scottish Minister for Energy, Tourism and Enterprise, Fergus Ewing MSP, yesterday (8th Oct) officially launched the AREVA Wind sponsored Pre-Apprenticeship programme for wind turbine technician training in partnership with Fife College. This programme is specifically designed to provide the training and skills required for the offshore wind industry and serves as a precursor for further training opportunities to become AREVA Turbine Technicians.
The course includes classroom and workshop education in key technical skills so that students can potentially continue their training at the AREVA manufacturing facility in Bremerhaven, Germany.
As part of the announcement, Minister Ewing met with the 16 students who have been selected to participate in this opening year of the programme.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting continued growth in Scotland’s energy sector and to allowing our young people to benefit from the tremendous opportunities that this sector presents now and in the future.
“AREVA’s engagement in this programme shows their commitment to invest in making young people their business and allowing them the opportunity to fulfil their potential with specifically designed training required to support the UK offshore wind industry.”
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, which has been working closely with AREVA on its proposed plans to locate its UK turbine manufacturing site in Scotland, added:
“This programme will not only help develop individuals with the right knowledge and skills to work in this exciting industry, but also increase Scotland’s growing reputation on the global stage as a leading location in the development of the offshore wind sector.”
Julian Brown, UK Country Director for AREVA Wind commented, “The AREVA Wind Pre-apprenticeship program reinforces our commitment to Scotland as an industrial base for our activities and will prepare these students for opportunities in the future offshore wind market in the United Kingdom.”
AREVA supplies advanced technology solutions for power generation with less carbon. Its expertise and unwavering insistence on safety, security, transparency and ethics are setting the standard, and its responsible development is anchored in a process of continuous improvement.
Ranked first in the global nuclear power industry, AREVA’s unique integrated offering to utilities covers every stage of the fuel cycle, nuclear reactor design and construction, and operating services. The group is actively developing its activities in renewable energies – wind, bioenergy, solar and energy storage – to become a European leader in this sector.
With these two major offers, AREVA’s 47,000 employees are helping to supply ever safer, cleaner and more economical energy to the greatest number of people.
About Fife College
Situated in the lowlands of Scotland, Fife’s position between the Edinburgh and Tayside regions makes it ideally placed for being a front runner as an enterprising area.
With the Scottish Government making clear its intention to increase sustainable economic growth, future economic success will depend on the ability to develop a culture in Fife that both encourages and values enterprise.
Fife has a lot of opportunities and strengths on which to build including the broad range of initiatives aimed at supporting enterprise across the region. From educational initiatives in schools, colleges and the university, to general business start-up support, key sector networks and infrastructure investments in incubation facilities, enterprise support is spread across a broad range of partners both in the private and public sectors.
Manufacturing and engineering remains a specialist core strength in Fife due to its long experience in the sectors. Technology innovation is driving the pace of change within the industry and Fife is at the heart of it.
The expertise in Fife for manufacturing and engineering is very much a key asset. The uses and end products have changed – but there is still a need for precision engineering and manufacturing knowledge. One such area of advancement is within the area of wind energy with many wind turbines, energy parks and unique specialist qualifications being available and leading the way in this emerging market.
Scotland’s offshore wind ambitions took a leap forward last week after plans for two major offshore wind farm developments moved closer to fruition.
Proposals to develop up to 277 turbines off the Caithness Coast in the Moray Firth and a 450MW farm off Fife cleared key planning hurdles this week when Highland councillors raised no objection to the Caithness proposal, which would see hundreds of wind turbines created as part of the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project, a joint venture between SSE Renewables and Repsol Nuevas Energias UK.
If approved, construction of the farm could start as soon as 2015 and the first electricity from the turbines (some of which would stand at 187m in height) exported from site to shore by 2018.
Elsewhere, East Lothian’s planning committee rubber-stamped developer Mainstream Renewable Power’s plan to start onshore cable works to connect the proposed 450MW Neart na Gaoithe development off the coast of Fife to the National Grid.
The work is expected to start next year with the site complete by 2016 and the wind farm to be fully operational by 2017. the Neart na Gaoithe project is expected to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 325,000 homes.
David Sweenie, offshore manager Scotland for Mainstream Renewable Power, said the wind farm project was of “major significance” for Scotland and will make a strong contribution towards the country achieving its 2020 renewable energy targets (to meet electricity demand from 100 per cent renewable sources).
Commenting on both developments, Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager for trade body Scottish Renewables, said Scotland has “huge potential” for offshore wind development.
“Already, up to 10GW of offshore wind have been earmarked for development in Scottish waters, enough to power some 6.5 million homes, and it’s fantastic to see the early sites taking real strides forward.”