The British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has allotted funds for the production of foundations designed for wind turbine generators in waters over 30 metres in depth, a development that will lead to the creation of up to 1,000 long-term jobs in the North East.
OGN Groups subsidiary company OGN North Sea will receive £640,250 from DECC’s Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration Scheme to build a prototype steel-jacketed foundation which has been designed and developed by its sister company, Aquind, at OGN’s Hadrian Yard site in Wallsend, Tyne, and Wear.
“We are delighted to have been selected for this grant by DECC. Government support is especially vital in the early stages of project development,” said OGN CEO David Edwards. “The offshore wind energy market is crucial to Britain’s future energy needs and we will do our utmost to ensure that this grant takes the UK into an even stronger role as the lead player in this sector. This grant is important for the development of Aquind, and is fantastic news for Tyneside and the North East.”
The construction of the prototype foundation will begin later this year. Aquind’s Triton foundation structures are specifically targeted towards supporting wind turbine generators in waters over 30 metres, which — for the UK — represents 70% of offshore wind installations in the third round of developments.
Renewable UK has predicted that offshore wind is likely to account for 17% of UK electricity production by 2020, as the government moves forward on its commitments to halve carbon emissions.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “The coalition is determined to drive ambitious green growth and this is putting our money where our mouth is. This cash shows we are delivering on our commitment to support innovation and offshore wind. Making wind turbines more efficient is common sense and will help bring down the costs making them more attractive to build and helping us increase the amount of electricity we get from clean, green sources. It’s great to see OGN North Sea Ltd stepping up to the challenge to ensure offshore wind energy is produced in the most cost effective way.”
Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy, in a speech given to investors last year, asserted his support for the offshore wind industry stating that, “getting new capital into projects like offshore wind farms is the difference between getting them off the drawing board and into the water, creating jobs and stimulating growth.” While Prime Minister David Cameron said at the same conference, “the UK will remain the world’s most attractive offshore wind market for many years to come. We have abundant natural advantages and a world-leading marine engineering base.”
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