UK’s Grant Boosts OGN’s Move into Offshore Wind
OGN, already a major player in the oil and gas offshore construction sector, has received a vote of confidence from the Department of Energy and Climate Change for its move into offshore wind technology. And the North East economy shares in the benefit with the creation of up to 1000 long term jobs.
OGN subsidiary, OGN North Sea, will receive £640,250 from DECC’s Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration Scheme to build a prototype steel jacketed foundation – Triton – designed and developed by its sister company, Aquind, at OGN’s Hadrian Yard site in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear. Construction of the prototype will begin later this year. Aquind is set to become a leading player in renewables, with a particular focus on offshore wind technology and the generation of energy from wind farms in deeper waters.
Offshore wind is predicted to account for 17% of UK electricity production by 2020 as part of the government’s commitment to halve carbon emissions. The UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy production with as much capacity already installed as the rest of the world combined.
Aquind’s Triton foundation structures are designed for large wind turbine generators (WTGs) in waters over 30m deep, which is relevant for over 70% of offshore wind installations in Round 3 developments. This makes Triton an essential part of the solution to a sustainable and efficient offshore wind energy production. OGN’s new purpose-built facility at its Hadrian Yard in Wallsend will be capable of producing an unprecedented 150 Triton jackets a year (3 per week), significantly reducing foundation manufacturing and installation costs. The faster manufacturing methods will help to remove a major supply chain bottleneck while securing the livelihood of over 1000 skilled workers in Tyne and Wear.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said “The coalition is determined to drive ambitious green growth and this is putting our money where our mouth is. This cash shows we are delivering on our commitment to support innovation and offshore wind. Making wind turbines more efficient is common sense and will help bring down the costs making them more attractive to build and helping us increase the amount of electricity we get from clean, green sources. It’s great to see OGN North Sea Ltd stepping up to the challenge to ensure offshore wind energy is produced in the most cost effective way.”
Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy, in a speech given to investors last year, asserted his support for the offshore wind industry stating that, “getting new capital into projects like offshore wind farms is the difference between getting them off the drawing board and into the water, creating jobs and stimulating growth.” While Prime Minister David Cameron said at the same conference, “the UK will remain the world’s most attractive offshore wind market for many years to come. We have abundant natural advantages and a world-leading marine engineering base.”
Commenting on this major success for OGN, CEO David Edwards said: “We are delighted to have been selected for this grant by DECC. Government support is especially vital in the early stages of project development. The offshore wind energy market is crucial to Britain’s future energy needs and we will do our utmost to ensure that this grant takes the UK into an even stronger role as the lead player in this sector. This grant is important for the development of Aquind, and is fantastic news for Tyneside and the North East.”
Graham Kennedy, OGN Chief Technical Officer and leader of the Triton project, commented: “The offshore wind market is dynamic and requires an efficient and driven supply chain to support and deliver its objectives – our Triton design and technology has the potential to reduce the costs of offshore wind foundations by at least 25%, making wind energy a viable renewable energy source for the UK.”
Offshore WIND staff, April 16, 2012; Image: ogn