The Anonymous Widower

Offshore Wind Champion Appointed As £160m Floating Offshore Wind Fund Opens For Expressions Of Interest

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Kwasi Kwarteng.

These three paragraphs describe the policy.

Ambitious plans to expand offshore wind around the United Kingdom to power homes and businesses with cheap, homegrown energy received a further boost today with the appointment of a new government champion and a multimillion-pound manufacturing fund opening for expressions of interest.

The appointment of Tim Pick as the first UK Offshore Wind Champion was confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today.

The Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS) will provide £160 million in government funding to boost floating offshore wind capability around the UK at sites in Scotland, Wales and elsewhere by supporting manufacturers and giving private investors the confidence to back this emerging sector which is expected to rapidly expand in the years ahead.

Floating offshore wind needs the following components.

  • Wind turbines, which are the same as those used onshore.
  • Floats, which are generally made from steel, but concrete can also be used. There are a few proven designs, like the Windfloat from Principle Power.
  • Mooring systems for the turbines.
  • Electrical substations and cables.

There is also a need for deep water docks, with large cranes to assemble the systems, prior to towing the turbines into position.

Floating offshore wind is a new industry and there will be new ideas coming through from innovators.

I feel that the strategy could help bring new ideas through.

 

May 25, 2022 - Posted by | Energy | , ,

10 Comments »

  1. For the last quarter of a century big oil has invested in and particularly in the latter half of that period developed the concept of drilling for oil from floating platforms. Looking up the current record for a floating platform drilling the deepest I see that it sits on a water depth of 2450 metres or over 8000 feet and is situated in a hurricane zone.
    Given that platform construction, positional stabilisation and subsea connections are a pretty mature technology I suspect that generally speaking the opportunity opened up by the Government will be welcomed by an industry whose long term oil activities will diminish.
    Yes there must be some innovation in bringing together the oil and wind industries closer but I see those as being at the margin.

    Comment by fammorris | May 25, 2022 | Reply

    • I see one area, where innovation and good project management will help will be in the production of floats, where hundreds of similar structures will be needed. In the 1960s and 1970s we moved fast to build gas and oil platforms.

      Comment by AnonW | May 25, 2022 | Reply

  2. Technologically its all possible im sure but im not convinced we are doing enough with the national grid to absorb it. We already have too much wind on the national grid that causes teh ESO to have to constrain it off at extra cost to energy user and easy money for the wind farm owner. There is no joined up thinking going on here the country needs a reset to the 1930’s when they just built the 132kV grid and likewise in the late 50’s early 50’s the 275/400kV supergrid to reinforce the grid now to absorb 50GW and not spend best part of five years trying to get planning consent. As we can see today when wind is dominant generation (45% as i type) it has forced down the system marginal price to £45MWh (£180 on low wind days) if it was at that level all the time we wouldn’t be faced with another hefty energy price rise.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | May 25, 2022 | Reply

    • We need more storage and the sooner SSE build Coire Glas the better.

      National Grid also make money from interconnectors and seem to be able to finance them. It’s probably cheaper to run them in the sea too!

      Possibly, we should build a cable factory as XLink are proposing to do.

      I wonder what the effect would be if we had more grid-to-battery chargers for electric vehicles.

      Comment by AnonW | May 25, 2022 | Reply

      • Almost all the electrical and mechanically kit is imported for windfarms and the substations. Its absolutely criminal when you consider we had full capability until the 1990’s to design and manufacture this kit. OK we make the blades and fabricate some of the monopiles to support turbines but nit the high value add stuff. Im pretty sure not one offshore substation has been fabricated in UK and all the heavy lift ships are overseas. We might be leading the world but its come at a hefty cost to balance of payments

        Comment by Nicholas Lewis | May 25, 2022

  3. It may be changing, in that some of the latest successful wind farm bids, stress local supply chain and content.

    Comment by AnonW | May 25, 2022 | Reply

    • We don’t have the capability to manufacture EHV transformers in the UK anymore and pretty well sure that at best we can only assemble EHV switch gear as well. None of the wind turbines nacelles and kit are manufactured. Yes we can do civils for foundations and cable routes for transmission links and lots of other local value stuff but not the high value high margin equipment. Its pretty damning given the UK’s commitment to wind that we’ve not invested in homegrown capability by now.

      Comment by Nicholas Lewis | May 25, 2022 | Reply

      • While I accept the general thrust of your remarks, is it not true that Brush however tenuously are still in a position to produce such transformers in the UK?
        Generally speaking it’s hard to see how the current British Government policy to raise local content to 50% by value can be achieved considering the legacy of previous industrial policies dating back some 40 years which encouraged such abysmal corporate management as we saw in the case of GEC. The recovery of heavy manufacturing and the other items you mention while not depend on foreign corporations investing in Britain. Putting China to one side is it in the political interest of the EU or the USA to make that commitment, judging by the case that the EU has raised with the WTO concerning the BEIS’s local clearly not

        Comment by fammorris | May 25, 2022

      • Fair point I had overlooked Brush but they can’t make transformers for 275/400kv nor in the 100’s of MVA this now seems to be the preserve of ABB aka Hitachi Energy. Hopefully they are getting contracts for at least the 33kV transformers mounted in the wind towers that send the power onto the offshore substations. Be interesting to know how much value is UK sourced in wind farms.

        Comment by Nicholas Lewis | May 25, 2022

  4. This YouTube video is rather pertinent to the subject of floating wind turbines and well worth a watch, I especially liked the work being undertaken by GE as well as the clip of an oil platform in a heavy sea.
    As one commentator writes it’s one thing building the odd floating platform platform, quite another to set up a production line.

    Comment by fammorris | May 26, 2022 | Reply


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