The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has announced plans to invest up to 25 million British pounds in a floating offshore wind system demonstration project that the company says would open up new areas off the coast of the U.K. to offshore wind and help bring generation costs down.
The project will see the design, construction and installation of a floating system demonstrator by 2016 at a relatively near-shore site with high wind speeds up to about 10 meters per second in water between 60 and 100 meters deep.
It will be operated for at least two years to show it can generate high levels of electricity, be maintained without using specially designed vessels and verify the predicted technical and economic performance, ETI explains, adding that the intention is to have the project operating for another eight years to allow further developments to take place.
"Offshore wind must be affordable and cost competitive with alternatives, and although large, floating turbines will have high capital costs, they can access near-to-shore, high-wind-speed sites off the west coast of the U.K., which, overall, brings down the cost of electricity generation for the long term," says David Clarke, ETI's CEO.
"We see floating turbine technology being strategically important to both the U.K.'s energy supply and its industrial strategy, which is why we are now seeking partners to carry out the development, installation and commissioning of a full-scale floating wind turbine system demonstrator by 2016," he adds.
ETI will also commission a test site for the demonstrator, with possible sites being provided to project participants during the design phase.
A request for proposals will be issued for organizations wanting to get involved in the project. More details are available here.