Nine of the largest offshore wind developers in Europe – along with the Carbon Trust – have united in their quest to lower offshore wind costs.
According to the Carbon Trust, the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) program is designed to impact the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) from offshore wind by reducing costs and improving efficiency and availability of existing and future offshore wind farms.
To date, DONG Energy, EnBW, E.ON, Iberdrola, RWE, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall have signed up to the program. Over the next four years, the developers will collectively invest at least 6.4 million British pounds, boosted by a further 1.5 million British pounds from the Scottish government, to bring new innovations to market that will help to ensure that the typical cost of offshore wind is below 100 British pounds/MWh by 2020.
The success of the OWA over the past eight years has been based on an exemplary industry-led research and development model wherein the priorities are set by developers to facilitate targeted and efficient commercialization of new innovations. The projects undertaken by the OWA program are selected to impact the LCOE by improving performance in offshore wind farm design, construction and operation.
The OWA program, created in 2008, has developed and demonstrated new foundations, adopted 66 kV cabling, and improved wind resource measurement and modelling. Over the last eight years, the OWA has delivered over 125 projects, ranging from feasibility studies to multimillion-pound, full-scale technology demonstrations.
Following a record year for installations in 2015, the European Wind Energy Association estimates that over 20 GW of offshore wind will be deployed in Europe by 2020. In addition to the benefits of creating a low carbon, secure source of electricity, offshore wind also offers greater economic and employment opportunities, the Carbon Trust notes.