Innovative concepts aim to reduce cost of renewable power

21 September 2011

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

A new shortlist has been published of innovative concepts designed to assist in the transportation of engineers and equipment to offshore wind turbines.

With the next generation of farms intended to be located further out to sea than existing developments, new methods of reaching and maintaining turbines will be required.

As a result, the Carbon Trust launched the Offshore Wind Accelerator programme and received a total of 450 submissions to the competition, of which 13 finalists were selected.

The shortlisted entries include a vessel that resembles a seahorse, a giant robotic arm and a boat that has suspension incorporated within it.

Each of the successful proposals provides a potential method of reaching offshore wind farms up to 300 km offshore in waves as high as three metres in a way that is easier and more cost-effective than current processes.

Commenting on the innovative designs received by the organisation, Benj Sykes, Carbon Trust Director of Innovation, stated: "These designs could significantly improve the economics of offshore wind and keep our engineers safe far out to sea."

The Offshore Wind Accelerator programme has received support from some of Britain's leading wind farm operators, including E.ON, RWE Innogy, ScottishPower Renewables and Statoil.

According to a recently-published study from the Carbon Trust, savings of more than 20 per cent could be generated by businesses if they invest in renewable energy technology.

The report suggested an average return of 11-12 per cent is possible by switching to producing their own green power, with building standards, energy market trends and financial incentives all building the case for such a move.

An estimated rise in the cost of power of up to 37 per cent has been forecast by 2020, with renewable generation offering an alternative to this, boosted by schemes such as the Feed in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.

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