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Floating wind innovation centre ‘can make Scotland global leader’



Scotland has opened the first dedicated innovation centre for floating offshore wind, which its First Minister Humza Yousaf believes could make it a world leader in the burgeoning sector.

The new £9m ($11.5m) centre, opened today, is designed to “supercharge” the development of floating wind in the UK.

It has been launched by Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, a UK innovation centre for offshore renewable energy, along with ETZ, a non-profit with a focus on Scotland’s energy transition.

Funding has come from the Scottish Government and Innovate UK.

Scotland’s net zero ambitions require “economic and societal transformation, with sustained investment, both public and private, to achieve it,” said First Minister Yousaf, speaking at an opening ceremony for the centre.

“We know the scale of the change needed. The National Floating Wind Innovation Centre embodies the spirit of collaboration that will drive the offshore wind industry forward.”

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The centre also “epitomises the relentless pursuit of science in helping to decarbonise our economy and represents a collective determination to solve the complex challenges posed by our net zero ambitions.”

“We share a common objective to establish Scotland as a first mover in floating wind technology on an industrial scale and by seizing this advantage we can position Scotland among the world’s leaders in this groundbreaking industry”.

ORE Catapult said that floating offshore wind is a “huge economic opportunity”, with more than 19GW of potential projects in the pipeline.

Successful rollout of this capacity could deliver over £43bn in UK gross value add by 2050, it said, and create more than 29,000 jobs.

Work underway at the new centre Photo: ORE Catapult

ORE Catapult said the centre has “unique facilities for companies to develop and derisk many of the technologies essential to the future success of the sector.”

There is it said “significant demand from industry for use of these services to capitalise on the unrivalled pipeline of floating offshore wind projects in UK waters.”

The “array of cutting edge equipment” housed at the centre includes a “large-scale dynamic cable flex fatigue rig” that will be used to test the “strength, performance and reliability of dynamic subsea cables – a critical component of floating offshore wind farms.”

There is also a large-scale anchor test rig to test dynamic anchoring systems; a wind scale motion simulator; and a virtual reality studio to envisage scenarios and challenges likely to be faced in the build-out of floating wind turbines.

Andrew Jamieson, CEO of the ORE Catapult, said: “This facility represents a groundbreaking step forward in the commercialisation of floating offshore wind – a sector that will be critical to meeting our Net Zero targets.”

Sir Ian Wood, chair of ETZ, said the centre is a “hugely significant milestone for the North East of Scotland and its ambition to be a global leader in the commercialisation of floating wind.”

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