Carbon Trust pushes forward with marine technologies

The Carbon Trust has been asked by the Scottish Government to run a new dedicated wave programme to help commercialise wave power in Scotland. Meanwhile, the trust is pushing forward with its drive to find the next generation of offshore wind cables.

by Josie Le Blond

The wave power scheme, announced by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing at the All Energy conference in Aberdeen last week, will be funded from the £18m Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF).

The project aims to provide a dedicated support mechanism for the wave sector to enable wave projects get to the first array stage and development, said the Carbon Trust, along with an innovation support programme for the enabling technologies crucial to the success of the earliest wave and tidal arrays.

"The fact that three leading tidal projects in Scottish waters have recently secured funding from other sources - the European Commission's NER300 fund and the UK Government's Marine Energy Array Demonstrator scheme - offers the prospect do something different with the MRCF,” said Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.

“We now have the chance to provide much-needed support for other marine renewables activities, while still fulfilling the goal of the MRCF - which is to help commercialise the marine energy industry in Scotland,” he added.

The project will be the first marine energy funding scheme in the UK to specifically fund wave projects rather than opening the field jointly to wave and tidal technologies, said Ewing.

“This tailored approach for wave energy, complemented by a Marine Energy Accelerator for enabling technologies, will help keep Scotland, and the rest of the UK, in pole position to capitalise on the tremendous opportunity we have in marine energy," said Dr Stephen Wyatt, Director of Innovation at the Carbon Trust.

Meanwhile, the Carbon Trust has launched a new competition to fast track the development of new 66kV cables to be used by the offshore wind industry as part of its Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA).

The Carbon Trust said goal is to ensure that new 66kV cables are developed in time to be used on Round 3 projects in the UK. Moving from 33kV to 66KV brings a number of benefits including the need for fewer substations, reduce system losses and cutting overall cable requirements.

OWA developers DONG Energy, E.ON, Mainstream Renewable Power, RWE Innogy, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall, representing 77% (36GW) of the UK's licenced capacity, believe that 66 kV is the optimal intra-array voltage for future offshore wind farms. They would like to use 66kV in commercial projects as soon as possible - preferably before 2015, said the Carbon Trust.

The competition will reward cable suppliers designing and qualifying 66kV cables, said the trust, with the intention of awarding funding of up to £300k to at least two cable suppliers, based on the lifecycle cost of the cable design and the time to complete qualification of the cable. The OWA developers will use the information from the 66kV cable qualification competition to inform cable procurement for future 66kV wind farms.

Further reading

RWE Innogy and Carbon Trust to test wind measurement buoys


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