The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is attempting to lease a site around 20 kilometres west of Orkney, Scotland. Six ports for floating offshore wind turbines with rated capacities of up to 20 MW would be included in the proposed test site. With more than 25 GW of floating wind expected to be deployed in UK waters within the next 20 years, the site setup and configuration have been optimised after intensive research and industry collaboration.
EMEC's test site will fully utilise Scapa Flow and has objectives for it to become an offshore wind hub, enabling future job creation and supply chain development. It will also serve as a catalyst for floating wind R&D and innovation. Initial design phases have been supported expertly by Xodus Group (Xodus), and both sides are trying to forge a longer-term partnership with the lauded X-Academy programme.
The future energy mix will include a major portion of floating wind, according to EMEC's managing director Neil Kermode, thus they are preparing to assist the sector's growth. In addition to building a new test site to enable full-scale demonstrations prior to commercial deployments across Scotland, he noted that they are investigating how they may use their current testing infrastructure for testing floating wind subsystems. With the new demonstration from EMEC, companies will be able to reduce project risk. As per Kermode, Scotland needs to test these technologies and build their supply chains right away if it wants to be prepared for ScotWind.
The creation of a floating wind test site by EMEC, as per Peter Tipler, Managing Director at X-Academy, has been a tremendous innovation project for Xodus to de-risk the industry for years. Orkney has a great chance to benefit from the ScotWind initiatives and establish itself as a hub for supply chain and assembly. He noted that a floating wind test site will work as a stimulus for jobs, skills, and supply chain development, helping to maintain economic value locally, as EMEC has shown with the performance of its wave and tidal testing infrastructure, and more recently hydrogen project implementation. Tipler also mentioned that one major prospect they're eager to examine is the deployment of the test site as part of their X-Academy programme, giving Xcellerators (programme participants) first-hand exposure with existing projects.
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