Tuesday 22 October 2019

Floating wind turbine test given €30m EU funding

Offshore wind has growth potential
Offshore wind has growth potential
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

An experimental floating wind turbine project off the west coast has received more than €30m in EU funding.

The project is being run by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)in partnership with a number of bodies including the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the ESB.

The idea is that the floating turbines can be placed in areas where the water is too deep for conventional turbines. That in turn would help Ireland and other countries to reduce carbon emissions.

"If floating offshore wind technology can operate reliably and efficiently on the west coast of Ireland, it will work anywhere. Through this project we hope that the successful technology demonstrations will fundamentally expand the global offshore wind market," said Oliver Wragg, commercial director at EMEC.

The technology comes from Saipem, an Italian oil and gas services provider which has been looking to diversify and offer services to the renewables sector. The offshore wind industry is in its infancy here but is seen as having growth potential as the cost of building offshore farms comes down.

Communications, Climate Action and Environment Minister Richard Bruton said: "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. 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."

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