Next stage of the Offshore Wind Accelerator gets the green light

Published:  27 October, 2020

The Carbon Trust has launched the fourth stage of the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), with all industry partners returning to participate and fund collaborative research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects. Partners for Stage 4 are EnBW, Equinor, Ørsted, RWE Renewables (including the former renewables business of innogy), ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, SSE Renewables, and Vattenfall.

The OWA has been pioneering industry-led RD&D activity since 2008, having undertaken more than 180 projects internationally. Over this period, rapid cost reductions have led to wide-scale deployment of offshore wind and the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) has significantly fallen. Technology RD&D efforts have played a significant role in this achievement, with 2018 analysis showing that OWA-supported innovations could deliver a 15 per cent reduction in the LCOE over a project’s lifetime, which translates to a £34bn saving for the European offshore wind industry based on 2030 build out targets.

The next phase of the OWA aims to continue the cost reduction of offshore wind, overcome market barriers, develop industry best practice, trigger the development of new industry standards and support the international expansion of offshore wind.

OWA projects will be focused around the areas of access and logistics, cables, electrical systems, foundations, and energy yield and performance. This builds on previous work areas, but broadens the programme’s remit in line with developments in the offshore wind sector and the growing international market.

This year’s Clean Energy Innovation report from the International Energy Agency highlights offshore wind as an industry in which strong collaboration has created more rapid innovation cycles and calls for a ‘continued push on innovation’ for renewables. The success of the OWA’s pioneering ‘collaborate to compete’ model for offshore wind innovation has led to the creation of other collaborative government and industry R&D programmes managed by Carbon Trust experts for areas including floating wind and consenting risk reduction.

Jan Matthiesen, director, offshore wind, the Carbon Trust, commented:

“We are delighted to be announcing the next iteration of the OWA, which has already played a critical role in commercialising offshore wind technologies and realising the potential of this industry, which is playing a significant role in the decarbonisation of economies around the world.

“Offshore wind is at an exciting stage of deployment, with project investment reaching new heights in the first half of this year. But with growing ambition comes new challenges, and our experienced team and partners are ready to find and support the next generation of solutions.”

Georgios Stamatelopoulos, Senior Vice President – Generation, Energie Baden-Württemberg AG commented:

“Further reduction of costs is a constant factor of success in future offshore wind projects both in mature and emerging markets. EnBW is a strong supporter of the fourth phase of the industry-led OWA programme and appreciates the inclusion of wind farm operation-related aspects in the work programme that are becoming increasingly important for the competitiveness of offshore wind.”

Danielle Jarski, renewables director of engineering, RWE, said:

“As a globally leading renewable energy player which now brings together the former renewables businesses of E.ON and innogy, RWE Renewables has been a long-term partner of the OWA programme. Thanks to the collaborative and determined approach taken by all partners, the OWA has driven remarkable progress within our industry, supporting the transformation of offshore wind from an embryonic, subsidised sector to one that is competitive and future-proofed. We now represent the combined expertise of two former OWA partners all under RWE Renewables, and we are looking forward to continuing this cooperation to support the global expansion of offshore wind.”

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