RenewableUK chief executive says the UK must take new technology “seriously”

The renewable energy industry has issued a rallying cry for the UK to become a world leader in floating offshore wind technology.

Speaking at an offshore wind conference today, the chief executive of RenewableUK, Hugh McNeal said the technology is a “global opportunity”, which the “UK must take seriously”.

“If we secure a commitment from government ministers to support the next phase of floating wind here in the UK, not only will we help UK companies gain knowledge and expertise, so they can compete abroad, but we will also be making a contribution to accelerating cost reduction, and securing investment in ports and yards around our coastline,” said McNeal.

“The UK also has a world-beating offshore oil and gas sector which has unrivalled experience working far from shore in hostile waters around the globe. It’s no surprise then, that these world-leading companies see floating offshore wind as their next big opportunity.”

The UK is currently home to the world’s only floating offshore windfarm – Statoil and Masdar’s 30MW Hywind Scotland’s facility, which opened last month.

The windfarm, which is 25km off the coast of Peterhead has the capacity to power 20,000 homes and two further projects, Kincardine and Dounreay Tri are also being developed.

The senior vice president for wind and carbon capture at Statoil, Stephen Bull, said: “Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to €40-60 per megawatt hour by 2030.

“Knowing that up to 80 per cent of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (more than 60 meters) where traditional bottom-fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward.”