Floating turbines, drones and robots

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The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has published its vision for the future of UK offshore wind power, which it suggests could “become the backbone” of Britain’s energy mix, providing around a third of the UK’s electricity demand within 12 years.

Likely trends in the sector over the next few decades include:

  • floating turbines;
  • increased turbine generation capacity;
  • innovative designs using multiple rotors and vertical axis;
  • managing output intermittency with new storage technology; and
  • robots and drones being used for routine maintenance.

Clean, abundant energy in future

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Research & Disruptive Innovation Director at ORE Catapult, said: “Our projection is based on research taking place in the UK right now – and importantly gaining traction across the world as exciting new approaches to generating clean, abundant energy from offshore wind start to emerge.

“This is a very exciting time for the offshore wind industry. In line with the UK government’s Industrial and Clean Growth Strategies, the industry is currently working with the government to agree a transformational sector deal to enable additional capacity to deliver affordable electricity, grow innovative UK businesses and create UK jobs.

“Whatever the future holds, the work taking place right here in the UK will have a pivotal impact not just on how we generate energy, but on how we view offshore renewables.”

Energy expert view

“ORE Catapult’s vision of future wind energy development in the UK looks very positive. It will be very interesting to see just how rapidly some of these technologies develop. This is certainly a rapidly developing sector, particularly as generation technology development is helping costs fall while the early stage electricity storage sector is beginning to make an impact.”Alastair Fells MEI, Incorporated Eng, PG Dip Fuel Tech, BSc Hons

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