The €31 million project aims to demonstrate survivability and cost-competitiveness of floating offshore wind technology.
A €31 million project has been approved for a four-year floating offshore wind project in North West Europe.
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is leading a consortium from Ireland, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany. Accelerating market uptake of Floating Offshore Wind Technology or AFLOWT is the first project of its kind at such scale to draw on expertise from right across Europe.
Subject to consenting, it is planned that a full-scale floating wind turbine be deployed for testing off the west coast of Ireland at a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) test site near Belmullet, County Mayo, by 2022.
Funding for the project has been secured from Interreg North West Europe to accelerate the uptake of floating offshore wind. The project will demonstrate the survivability and cost-competitiveness of floating offshore wind technology.
It will also support the development of an active supply chain in the region which has some of the strongest wind and ocean resources in the world.
“Decarbonising our electricity supply will be crucial to becoming a leader in climate change. We are fortunate in Ireland to have such a fantastic wind energy resource,” said Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton. “Almost one third of Ireland’s electricity currently comes from renewables, with wind being the highest contributor. However, we need to step up our ambition in this area and stretch ourselves farther. I welcome this project as an excellent opportunity to further explore the potential of offshore wind.”
SAIPEM SA will be supported by project partners with research and development insights coming from Cable Life Cycle Assurance (CaLiCyA) in France, Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN), Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (IWES) in Germany, University College Cork and Electricity Supply Board Engineering & Major Projects (ESB E&MP) in Ireland.
“Decarbonising our electricity supply will be crucial to becoming a leader in climate change. We are fortunate in Ireland to have such a fantastic wind energy resource”
EMEC will manage the project from the UK and once planning, permitting and supply chain requirements are in place, the floating turbine will be tested for a year at SEAI’s Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site (AMETS) off the west coast of Ireland.
Deployment is currently planned for 2022. By testing at AMETS, the technology developed in AFLOWT will be proven in the harshest of North West Europe’s offshore environments, readying it for application at any deep-water offshore environment across the world.
“We recognise that there are many significant steps to be taken to deliver this ambitious project and we will work with all project partners and local and national stakeholders to maximise local and national benefits,” said Jim Gannon, chief executive of SEAI. “This project will show Ireland’s strengths, not only in terms of its significant wind resources, but also as a responsive, innovative and agile country.”
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