Aker Offshore Wind has outlined plans to utilise Scotland’s first offshore wind underwater substation as part of its bids for major offshore windfarms.
The multi-million subsea innovation would be developed, manufactured, and supplied in Scotland by Aker Solutions and provide major export opportunities for Scottish businesses.
Substations – which help move the energy created by wind turbines into homes and businesses – are traditionally installed above sea level but moving them down to the seabed brings several reliability and cost benefits. For example, the seawater can be used as a natural cooling system, while reliability is increased through stable temperatures, fewer components and no rotating parts. In addition, operational costs can decrease by less maintenance and reduced material use.
The project would be delivered as a part of the ScotWind licensing process, for which Aker Offshore Wind has teamed up with Ocean Winds to submit a series of floating bids which could deliver up to 6,000MW of energy in the Outer Moray Firth. It would be by far the UK’s biggest wind energy development and power millions of homes with renewable energy.
Aker Offshore Wind’s heritage and experience working in the North Sea with subsea technology means it would create jobs, economic opportunity and deliver major environmental benefits. Aker Solutions, a sister company of Aker Offshore Wind and a key supplier to UK wind projects, is a frontrunner in developing subsea substations and related power system designs. The company would support the delivery of substations from its Aberdeen facilities.
The ScotWind bids for floating offshore turbines allow green energy to be delivered at scale, in deep waters and many miles off coast. The joint bids from Aker Offshore Wind and Ocean Winds will also help Scotland’s economy to transition to renewable energy.
The Aker group of companies, of which Aker Offshore Wind is a part, has supported the energy industry in the UK for over five decades and has been instrumental in the design and deployment of more than half of all semi-submersible offshore installations globally. In taking offshore wind to deeper waters, Aker Offshore Wind is using its expertise to reduce costs of generating electricity in the harsh seas and rough weather conditions off the UK, contributing to net zero and security of supply.
Floating offshore wind is the latest advent in renewable energy technology. Around 80 per cent of the world’s wind resources are in waters deeper than 60 metres and are unsuitable for fixed foundations.
“This is a world-leading innovation that would be developed, manufactured and supplied in Scotland,” says Sian Lloyd-Rees, managing director of Aker Offshore Wind UK. “Both the Aker group and Ocean Winds have the necessary heritage and experience to deliver this at scale. We know the benefit is there – it will revolutionise how energy is produced and present Scotland with the opportunity to export genuinely innovative technology to the rest of the world.
“This technology would be supported by tens of millions of investment and work would start next year. It’s a proven technology that we are now using to ramp up the role of renewables in Scotland. Our vision is for the UK to become a global leader in floating offshore wind, contributing to our net zero mission with green energy at scale. Through innovation, we have the opportunity to implement new technology in the ScotWind leasing round, making Scotland and the UK a global leader in subsea solutions for floating offshore wind and exporting the technology around the world.”
“Ocean Winds has worked at the cutting edge of technological innovation to deliver world-leading reductions in the cost of offshore wind energy generation at our Moray East project with innovations from foundation construction to turbine interconnection,” said Dan Finch, managing director of Ocean Winds UK. “The development of subsea substations is another major step forward in terms of using world leading energy technology from our partners, Aker. It will enable construction of windfarms in areas of the seabed which are too deep for fixed substation foundations, therefore facilitating access to cost-effective sites worldwide, even in very deep waters.
“By including this proposal in our Scotwind bid, we can position Scotland at the front of the world’s offshore wind market, with a new, innovative technology, offering the economic opportunities associated with a new product with global demand prospects.
“Our two groups bring together considerable experience of working in the North Sea environment and delivering and operating offshore wind generation, giving us an unrivalled heritage from which to deliver innovation such as this at commercial scale.”
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About Aker Offshore Wind:
Aker Offshore Wind is an offshore wind developer focused on assets in deep waters and specialized on floating energy systems. With global operations, the current portfolio consists of development projects and prospects located in Asia, North America and Europe. Aker Offshore Wind effectively deploys cost effective technologies from decades of offshore energy development. The company is majority-owned by Aker Horizons, an investment company dedicated to creating value and reducing emissions from renewable energy and decarbonisation technologies. Aker Offshore Wind [AOW-ME] is listed on Euronext Growth in Oslo, Norway.
About Ocean Winds:
OW is a 50-50 offshore wind joint venture, owned and created by EDP Renewables and ENGIE. Both companies believe that offshore wind energy has become an essential part of the global energy transition, leading to rapid growth in the sector and increased competitiveness. That is why they have grouped all their existing and pipeline offshore portfolio into the new company to play a leading role in the offshore market. OW has 4GW in construction and operation, including the 950MW Moray East (under construction) and Moray West (consented, awaiting a CfD) fixed offshore wind projects in the UK. OW targets to reach 5-7 GW of projects in operation or construction and 5-10 GW under advanced development by 2025. OW, headquartered in Madrid, is currently present in 8 countries, primarily targets markets in Europe, the United States, and selected parts of Asia, from where most of the growth is expected to come.
ScotWind Leasing is the process currently being undertaken by Crown Estate Scotland, at the direction of the Scottish Government, to grant property rights for the seabed in Scottish waters for new commercial scale offshore wind projects. It is the first round of seabed leasing for offshore windfarms in Scotland for a decade. The application process closed on 16 July 2021 and seeks a broad range of information about the proposals and the developer including a supply chain development statement document. The process intended to allow the Government to determine which application should be given preferred status and offered an option agreement in the event of there being competing interest for a site.