Development has the potential to create 750 direct jobs
French company AREVA have confirmed that they will build a wind turbine manufacturing facility on Scotland’s East coast to support the country’s nascent offshore wind boom.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between AREVA and Scottish Enterprise this morning on the occasion of the visit to Paris by the First Minister for Scotland. The agreement was signed by Areva CEO Luc Oursel and the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Lena Wilson, and was witnessed by Alex Salmond at a meeting this morning.
The MoU is the first step towards establishing an AREVA factory in Scotland that will manufacture its 5 MWe turbines for offshore projects in the United Kingdom, complementing AREVA’s Le Havre facilities that will supply France, Belgium and more southerly UK projects.
AREVA is actively tendering with major utilities in the UK offshore wind market, and says it has chosen to locate the facility in East Scotland to optimise logistics costs for UK projects and to benefit from a growing cluster of offshore supply chain businesses in the area. The development has the potential to create 750 direct jobs in the manufacture of wind turbines and blades.
The group is one of the leading offshore wind suppliers in Europe where the installed base for offshore is expected to exceed 40,000 MWe by 2030. Thanks to its field-proven M5000 technology and unique experience in the field, AREVA is well positioned to grasp significant growth opportunities in the UK, which is now home to the world’s largest offshore wind market.
Luc Oursel, CEO of AREVA, said: “This demonstrates the group’s commitment to contribute to the development of an ambitious offshore wind industry in the UK. The Scottish site will complete our industrial plan to supply European offshore wind projects and will strongly position us to grasp opportunities in the extensive UK market.”
Up to 700 jobs could be created in Angus and Tayside
Seagreen has submitted applications to the Scottish Government for consent to build and operate two 525 Megawatt (MW) offshore wind farms in Phase 1 of the Firth of Forth Offshore Wind Zone. The applications were formally submitted to Marine Scotland, the Scottish Government directorate responsible for marine licensing and planning. Marine Scotland has confirmed acceptance of the applications and the documents will be available for viewing during the public consultation period which runs from October 26th to the 7th December.
The Phase 1 applications are for two separate offshore wind farms, Project Alpha and Project Bravo, located 27km and 38km respectively at their closest points from the Angus coastline. The wind farms would each have a maximum capacity of 525 MW and accommodate up to 75 wind turbines and supporting infrastructure including subsea cables, offshore substation platforms and meteorological masts.
The subsea cables will transmit the power produced by the projects to a landfall point at Carnoustie on the Angus coast. The onshore transmission infrastructure, which will connect the projects from landfall to the grid connection point at Tealing, north of Dundee, will be subject to a separate Town and Country Planning Application to Angus Council planned for early 2013.
Up to 700 jobs could be created in Angus and Tayside, with the possibility that a Dundee port will be developed as a manufacturing hub.
Seagreen Wind Energy Limited is a 50/50 joint venture partnership between SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy plc) and Fluor Limited, the UK operating arm of Fluor Corporation.
Marine Scotland’s formal consultation period on the applications will run from Friday 26th October 2012 until Friday 7th December 2012. A copy of the applications and accompanying Environmental Statement will be available to view at Seagreen (Waterloo Street, Glasgow), Scottish Government (Victoria Quay, Edinburgh), Angus Council (Market Street, Forfar) as well as Dundee, Montrose, Arbroath and Carnoustie libraries. Representations can be made by email to email@example.com or by post to The Scottish Government, Marine Scotland, Marine Laboratory, PO BOX 101, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen, AB11 9DB.
Seagreen is developing the Firth of Forth Offshore Wind Zone in three phases. The total target zone capacity is 3.5 Gigawatts (GW) making it Scotland’s largest renewable energy project.
A non-technical summary (NTS) of the application’s Environmental Statement can be downloaded here.
SSE and Scottish Enterprise to invest up to £20 million
SSE and Scottish Enterprise (SE) are to invest up to £20 million to create an offshore wind turbine test centre, capable of hosting three full scale wind turbines designed for offshore deployment.
SE has committed up to £4.3 million from the National Renewables Infrastructure Fund towards the joint venture with SSE which will in turn invest around £15 million in the site.
The test centre will be located at the port of Hunterston on the coast of North Ayrshire, a site already earmarked for potential renewables supply chain development in the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan.
SSE will work with its supply chain partners Siemens and Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe to test their latest turbine technology on two of the berths. The third berth will be operated by Scottish Enterprise and will be leased to a turbine manufacturer which has firm plans to invest in the Scottish off-shore wind supply chain.
The new funding was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond at the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference today (Wednesday 10th October 2012).
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “As the global wind industry looks further offshore, towards the deeper waters of the world’s seas and oceans, Scotland is ideally-placed to become a key hub for the design, development and deployment of next-generation turbine technologies. We must continue to provide the optimum technical, investment and natural environment for this important industry so I’m delighted that, through Scottish Enterprise, we are able to work with one of Scotland’s great innovating companies on this key offshore wind project.”
Hunterston’s wind resource, which replicates offshore conditions, coupled with its existing grid connection – make it an ideal site for the testing facility which has a key role in developing Scotland’s offshore wind supply chain. The advantage of testing turbines on land is that it permits the manufacturer 24 hour access to make modifications and repairs, which is critical particularly for early series prototype turbines.
Scottish Enterprise has worked closely with SSE Renewables to develop the project and the joint funding will contribute towards the infrastructure needed to develop three turbines at the site over the next five years.
Lena Wilson chief executive of Scottish Enterprise said: “We know that offshore wind is a rapidly expanding, long term, global market, with significant low carbon economic growth opportunities for Scotland.
“There are currently no test sites of this kind in the UK and the development at Hunterston will give us a significant competitive advantage in this market – helping to establish Scotland as a centre of expertise in offshore wind research, development and manufacturing.”
SSE’s Finance Director, Gregor Alexander, said: “We are pleased to be working with Scottish Enterprise to develop the UK’s first offshore wind turbine testing facility of its kind. This ground breaking venture will be an important stepping stone towards fulfilling renewables targets in an affordable way in our move towards a low carbon economy.”
The main civil works at the site will start this autumn, with the erection of the meteorological masts. This will be followed by turbine works due to begin in March 2013. The first of the new turbines are scheduled for delivery to Hunterston by sea by next summer and weather permitting, should be erected late 2013. Once the new turbines are in place, there will be a few months of testing and commissioning before the site becomes fully operational next year.
SSE’s Project Manager, Hamish Oag, said: “Beginning the construction works is a key milestone for us. We are working closely with RSPB and have agreed to cease construction during the key winter months out of respect for wintering birds. Even with this commitment, we are still on track for the main construction phase to be completed by late summer 2013.”
Agencies announce funding call for offshore wind projects
Scotland’s economic development agencies, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, have joined forces to launch a series of research and development funding calls to attract projects with potential to drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy.
R&D funding has been made available through a range of existing support packages to support growth of the burgeoning offshore wind sector in Scotland
With a direct market value in excess of £7 billion and gross value add of over £17 billion, offshore wind is widely recognised as one of the biggest opportunities for sustained economic growth in Scotland for a generation.
A key priority for the sector is to innovate and commercialise new techniques and technologies that boast the potential to significantly cut the cost of production of renewable energy. The partners are inviting businesses of all sizes and academic institutes located within Scotland to bring forward project ideas that support effective and efficient operation and maintenance through remote condition monitoring and control systems for large scale next generation offshore wind turbines.
In particular, the agencies are looking to support projects in the following areas:
- Next generation condition monitoring and self-diagnosis systems that could help minimise turbine failure rates and reduce maintenance costs.
- Effective remote operating systems that provide full information and control of turbines to reduce the amount of work done on site at sea.
- As turbines increase in size, controller algorithms will have to become increasingly important to reduce fatigue loading as well as control the pitch of the turbine blades in to increase efficiency.
- On a larger scale coordinated supervisory control of wind turbines in a wind farm, building on process industry controls used in more mature industries could significantly improve the overall performance of large windfarms.
Further funding calls are planned over the next year seeking proposals around novel offshore operations and maintenance technologies and techniques, drive train design integration and alternative support structures and foundations for challenging environments.
Director of renewables at Scottish Enterprise, Andy McDonald, said: “Scotland has an incredible wealth of tranferable offshore engineering and technology expertise honed in the oil and gas sector. We are keen to work with Scottish companies and academia with the potential to deliver innovative solutions to some of the challenges our growing offshore wind sector faces.”
Interested companies and academic institutes should submit an online enquiry at www.scottish-enterprise.com/offshorewindfundingcall.
The closing date for expressions of interest under this call is 29 June 2012 with further calls expected over the course of the next year.
Scottish Enterprise director of energy and low carbon technologies, Adrian Gillespie, welcomes two new reports published today (13 June) by the industry-led Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Task Force and The Crown Estate which shows the UK is on course to reduce the cost of generating electricity and details of how the reductions can be achieved. He said “The importance of reducing the cost of electricity generated by offshore wind is imperative and an issue we have been working on with the renewables and oil & gas industries. We are pleased to feed this learning into the work of the Task Force and I welcome the publication of the findings.
“Scotland’s offshore wind sector has huge economic potential and projects such as our £35 million POWERS fund to support the development of prototype turbines, targeted ‘calls’ for R&D and commercialisation support and wider partnership initiatives including the International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and the Scottish Energy Lab all contribute to helping reduce the costs of Scotland’s offshore wind sector and support our ambitions of helping it to reach its full potential whilst contributing to the Scottish Governments ambitious renewable energy targets.”
A copy of the full press release can be viewed here.