EMEC, West of Orkney wind farm kick off research and innovation program

July 20, 2022
The research and innovation program will explore ways to overcome technical challenges, embed economic benefits in the north of Scotland and deliver offshore wind faster, cheaper and at lower risk.

Offshore staff

ORKNEY, Scotland  The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), based in Orkney, has signed an agreement with the West of Orkney wind farm to kick-start a major research and innovation (R&I) program that has been tasked with increasing the competitiveness of the wind farm and enhancing R&I capacity in the north of Scotland, according to a recent EMEC news release.

Rights to develop the 2-GW West of Orkney windf arm were secured in January by a joint venture consisting of Corio Generation, TotalEnergies and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group. The project will be located 30 km off the west coast of Orkney and aims to start producing renewable power by 2030.

This partnership will be the first with a large-scale, commercial offshore wind farm, the release stated.

The West of Orkney wind farm R&I program will be tasked with identifying ways to deliver the project more efficiently and cost effectively. These will cover a broad range of challenges, including the exposed location, environmental impacts and increased remote operations.

EMEC will review the offshore wind R&I landscape, mapping this against the needs of the project and capabilities across the region. This will inform the development of a long-term project-specific R&I program, which EMEC will deliver in collaboration with a range of stakeholders including the local supply chain.

This initial work program with EMEC is part of a wider West of Orkney wind farm initiative to support the offshore wind supply chain locally, in Scotland and across the UK. This will be enabled by a £105 million project-level investment initiative that will be enhanced to £140 million by third parties, in advance of a final investment decision in 2026.

“EMEC has been working with the West of Orkney wind farm team for the past two years to support the early developmental phases of the project," said Matthew Finn, EMEC commercial director. "This new phase of work will allow us to help the existing supply chain build operational capacity and scale up activities.

“EMEC has been gathering data around the west coast of Orkney for the last 20 years and delivered a wide range of R&D projects for green offshore technologies, so we can feed our learning into the wind farm development. With the West of Orkney wind farm just 30 km west of EMEC’s Billia Croo test site, we believe it provides an ideal pathway for emerging technologies to scale up and move out into the harsh waters around us.”