The announcement of 32GW of offshore wind energy for the UK under the Crown Estates Round three offshore wind programme ensures that the UK continues to lead the world in this emerging technology. But the programme ahead will be incredibly ambitious and fraught with both engineering and commercial challenges if it is to be a success.
The UK offshore wind Round three is an absolute critical piece of the low carbon puzzle and fundamental to the country’s ambitions to achieve its 20/20 carbon reduction targets as set by the EU.
The operating areas that the round three sites are offering are extremely challenging for a number of reasons, but particularly the water depth and the distance from shore – two factors that are completely different to the offshore farms that we have seen in the UK and elsewhere in the world to date.”
In October 2008 the Carbon Trust set up the Offshore Wind Accelerator, with the objective to reduce the cost of offshore wind by ten per cent. The £30m RD&D programme identified four extremely promising areas to focus on; foundations, access, electrical connections and wake effects. Of these areas the work on foundations is considered to be of prime importance.