To create a vibrant, skilled, deep water offshore wind supply chain in the North of Scotland that is globally competitive with innovation and collaboration at the core of its DNA.
To quickly become the leading offshore wind supply chain cluster in the world for deep water solutions for both fixed and floating technologies by creating a hub of competitive companies who have embraced increased productivity, strong collaborative working and creative innovation in the North of Scotland
DeepWind – Why focus on deep water?
The development of offshore wind in the shallow waters off the East Coast of England, and Northern Europe’s global lead in offshore wind in general, is not representative of the future global offshore wind market when looking at water depth. The monopile substructures that have dominated the European market (80%) are a shallow water technology with the latest ultra-heavy monopiles good for up to 35m water depth. Beyond this depth envelope it is the domain of the deep-water technologies such as jackets, tripods, gravity base and floating structures.
You do not have to leave Europe to glimpse the future of offshore wind. France, Spain and Portugal along with the whole of the Mediterranean area require deep water technologies if they are to harness their offshore wind resources. The bulk of the emerging global offshore wind market will be in 40m plus water depth e.g. Massachusetts Offshore Wind Area with average 50m water depth, with some markets such as Japan and the West Coast of the USA having to move to floating systems. The Scottish offshore wind experience resonates more with this future market than that of the, up until now, dominant Southern UK and Northern European markets.
Jackets in Offshore Wind
Scotland has been a world leader in the development of deep water offshore wind for over 14 years staring with the Beatrice Offshore Wind Demonstrator in the Moray Firth in 2005. This world leading project saw the first use of jacket substructures in offshore wind and represented a fusion between offshore wind and oil and gas technologies.
DeepWind member company SSE partnered with oil and gas producer Talisman to connect two 5MW turbines to an offshore oil platform in the Beatrice field. The project utilised a number of ground breaking innovations including onshore construction of the tower, blades and nacelle, a tandem lift with a floating heavy lift crane of the whole assembly from the quayside at Global Energy Group’s Nigg Energy Park (also a cluster company) and a single lift of the whole system onto the jacket structure offshore. See image on the right.
The jackets were constructed by another cluster company, BiFab, at their Methil yard and installed in what was then, at 45m water depth, the deepest deployment of an offshore wind project in the world. This paved the way for the UK’s third leasing round for offshore wind to extend into deeper waters than earlier rounds. The cluster will now be involved in the up and coming decommissioning of these same two turbines 15 years on.
With the installation of five floating wind turbines at Equinor’s Hywind off the Aberdeenshire coast Scotland became home to the largest floating wind project in the world in 2017. The larger still Kincardine Floating Offshore Windfarm was instigated by Scottish company Pilot Offshore. This project, now being delivered by Spanish company Cobra Offshore, will overtake Hywind with a 50MW project in 2020. Both Equinor and Cobra are members of the cluster.
With such a pedigree it should be no surprise that the North of Scotland Offshore Wind Cluster will specialise in deep water offshore wind for both fixed bottom and floating technologies. Although centred on the existing projects the Moray Firth, which included SSE’s 588MW Beatrice project, the Moray East 950MW project and the 850MW Moray West wind farm, the cluster will reach beyond companies in the Moray Firth area by adopting a hub and spoke approach. This means the cluster will also include companies from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire along with ports and manufacturing facilities in Campbeltown, Arnish, Kishorn, Hunterston, Thurso, Orkney and Shetland. Some of these sites are already involved in delivering offshore wind but others are a nod to the future market for deep water fixed and floating offshore wind on the West Coast and Northern Isles of Scotland under the up and coming Scottish Offshore Wind Leasing Round or ScotWind for short.
Innovation, skills and supply chain development will be the main themes for the cluster but with particular reference to wind in deeper water. The cluster represents a collaboration between the Scottish Government, academia, the developers and the supply chain companies with the aim of increasing the competitiveness and productivity of the companies involved. By introducing innovation to lower the cost of offshore wind and creating a training platform capable of delivering the skills required by the industry across the cluster area we aim to focus on delivering systems that reflect our aim of being the leading organisation for deep water wind……..and so the DeepWind Cluster was born.
DeepWind Cluster Manager