Floating Wind Innovation Centre opens in Aberdeen

What’s claimed to be the world’s first dedicated technology centre for floating offshore wind has opened in Aberdeen, aiming to tap into the nascent energy sector.

Principle Power

Run by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, FLOWIC (Floating Wind Innovation Centre) is a £9m facility that will seek to address some of the challenges specific to floating wind, developing and de-risking an array of technologies.

In-house equipment at the centre includes a bespoke dynamic cable flex fatigue rig for testing subsea cables, a large-scale test rig for anchoring systems, a Hexapod floating offshore wind scale motion simulator, and a virtual reality studio.

Scotland’s recent ScotWind Leasing process identified over 19GW of potential floating wind projects, with the Celtic Sea off the Welsh and Cornish coast due to provide even more opportunities in the years ahead. According to the ORE, this pipeline of floating wind projects has the potential to create over 29,000 jobs and deliver more than £43bn in value to UK economy by 2050.

“This facility represents a ground breaking step forward in the commercialisation of floating offshore wind – a sector that will be critical to meeting our Net Zero targets,” said Andrew Jamieson, ORE Catapult chief executive.

“When you look at the projected global market demand for floating wind technology over the coming years, the opportunity is eye-watering; dynamic cables alone will be a more than £2bn global market over the next decade. Here in the UK we are well placed to play a leading role in that market by developing the supply chain to support the innovations that will bring this potential to life. Others are chasing the same prize though, so the time is right to make sure Scottish and UK companies are at the front of that race, and this facility is a key part of helping that happen.”

Located in the heart of Aberdeen’s Energy Transition Zone, FLOWIC was funded by Innovate UK and the Scottish Government, and delivered by the ORE in partnership with ETZ Limited. According to  ETZ chairman Sir Ian Wood, the facility can play an important role in supporting the North Sea energy industry transition away from fossil fuels.

“A massive 17GW of planned floating wind projects are within 100 nautical miles of Aberdeen,” he said. “This market leading facility will have an internationally recognised capability to reduce the costs of energy from these developments supporting the incubation of new products, services and businesses across the energy sector.

“We are already seeing a number of supply chain businesses actively transitioning toward offshore wind, creating jobs as they do so, and the operation of this centre will provide greater confidence for them to scale and grow.”