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ETZ Ltd and ORE Catapult to Collaborate on Development of World Leading National Floating Wind Innovation Centre

Posted on 02 March 2022

ETZ Ltd and ORE Catapult to Collaborate on Development of World Leading National Floating Wind Innovation Centre

ETZ Ltd and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have today announced that they will co-invest and collaborate in a world leading National Floating Wind Innovation Centre in Aberdeen dedicated to accelerating the commercialisation of floating offshore wind throughout the UK and supporting the incubation of new products, services and businesses within the sector.

The £9 million centre will be located within the Altens Industrial Estate of the Energy Transition Zone and is being developed to ensure that the North East of Scotland and wider UK capitalise on the massive opportunity created by the Scottish seabed leasing round, Scotwind, which will drive the development and demand for floating offshore wind.  ETZ Ltd is providing £4m for the capital costs of the innovation centre and ORE Catapult is contributing £5m to operationally run it.

The initial focus of the Centre will be digital simulation and modelling, moving to the testing and validation of the key components of floating structures, including moorings and anchors, dynamic cables and electrical systems. The Centre aims to:

  • support the development of a floating wind supply chain, increase UK content for new offshore wind farm developments in the future and strengthen O&M practices;
  • support developers, operators, equipment manufacturers, supply chain companies and small innovators with research, test, deployment and validation in relation to offshore wind;
  • enable collaboration with and between academia and industry to drive down costs of floating offshore wind and develop, accelerate and validate new and improved technology solutions;
  • support clustering of energy transition investment and activities;
  • facilitate the transition of technologies from other industries, such as oil and gas; and
  • enable technology developers to reduce risks, such as premature failure and reducing unplanned maintenance.

The North East of Scotland has an opportunity to use its first mover advantage and be a global leader in offshore floating wind given the significant synergies with subsea technologies and expertise – 75% of the world’s subsea engineering capability is based in the region and 14.6GW of floating wind power was approved as part of the recent ScotWind leasing round.

Speaking at the formal launch of the ETZ Ltd in Aberdeen today [Monday], Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The Energy Transition Zone, backed by £26 million Scottish Government funding, will contribute to the North East being ideally placed to make the most of the anticipated increase in demand for offshore wind as we transition to Net Zero. The new National Floating Wind Innovation Centre is a world first, and it marks a major step in our collective efforts to capitalise on the huge opportunity that floating offshore wind presents. My congratulations to the team at ETZ Ltd and ORE-Catapult for progressing this project at pace.

“Ensuring our transition to net zero is fair, just, and delivers sustainable jobs and growth is at the heart of our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, which the Economy Secretary will announce more details on this week.

“As well as supporting the acceleration of offshore wind, ETZ Ltd will be a catalyst for high-value manufacturing, research, development and the deployment of new energy technologies, such as green and blue hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. These will be critical to developing a long-term international industry base that delivers sustainable jobs and growth for the North East.”

ETZ Ltd Chairman, Sir Ian Wood, welcomed the First Minister’s visit and both the Scottish and UK Government support for ETZ and the North East’s ambition to become the net zero energy capital of Europe.

Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of ETZ Ltd, said:

“The North East of Scotland is one the most attractive locations for investment in low carbon and net zero technologies and the Energy Transition Zone will be at the very heart of our efforts to reposition this region as the net zero energy capital of Europe.

“The significant backing for ETZ by both the Scottish and UK Governments is hugely welcome and will help ensure the North East of Scotland’s energy transition ambition becomes a reality. This support is tacit recognition of this region’s proven ability and unique position within Scotland and the UK to take advantage of this massive opportunity and I’m therefore delighted the First Minister could join us today to formally launch ETZ Ltd.

“Crown Estate Scotland’s decision to approve developments that will generate 24.8GW of offshore wind power hugely encouraging and it’s great to see the Scottish Government’s recognition of the sheer scale of the opportunity before us.

“18GW of power announced, representing over 70% of all successful bids, are within 100 nautical miles of Aberdeen and therefore this region is ideally placed to become a globally recognised hub supporting the high value manufacturing, operations and maintenance and innovation required to deliver these developments at pace.

“There is a massive 14.6GW of floating wind developments announced in the ScotWind leasing round which is why ORE Catapult ‘s decision to create the National Floating Wind Innovation Centre in Aberdeen is so important and a critical part of ETZ Ltd’s plans.”

Andrew Jamieson, ORE Catapult Chief Executive said:

“The development of floating offshore wind is one of the biggest opportunities in the UK today to secure real global leadership. Working in collaboration with industry, government and other stakeholders, we can grasp the unprecedented opportunity for UK technology and process innovation to solve challenges such as faster consenting and enhanced grid solutions, driving economic and supply chain growth and job creation as we strive to achieve Net Zero. 

“In addition to the planned innovation centre in Aberdeen, our developer-led Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence, in partnership with Government, is already providing real insight into the technology and policy challenges to be overcome and it is vital that we now provide the infrastructure, expertise and skills to address those challenges and accelerate the development of the technology. There is nowhere better placed in the world to do this than the Energy Transition Zone in Aberdeen, benefitting from the extensive existing expertise in marine operations and accelerating the just energy transition”.