European consortium led by European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has secured €31m for building and testing a floating wind project off the coast of Ireland.


Image: EMEC to test floating wind project off of Irish coast. Photo: Courtesy of moerschy/Pixabay.

EMEC consortium includes Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), SAIPEM and other organisations in France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Funding for the project has been received from Interreg North West Europe to speed up the uptake of floating offshore wind. Known as Accelerating market uptake of Floating Offshore Wind Technology (AFLOWT), the project will include a turbine and it is expected to demonstrate the survivability and cost-competitiveness of floating offshore wind technology.

The project will also support the development of an active supply chain in the region which is claimed to be home to some of the strongest wind and ocean resources in the world.

EMEC will manage the project from the UK. Once the planning, permissions and supply chain requirements are secured, the floating turbine will be tested for a year at SEAI’s Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site (AMETS) off the west coast of Ireland.

The turbine’s is expected to be deployed in 2021. By testing at AMETS, the technology developed in AFLOWT is expected to be proven in the harshest of the North West Europe’s offshore environments, readying it to be applied at any deep-water offshore environment across the world.

EMEC commercial director Oliver Wragg said: “Over the past 15 years EMEC has hosted more ocean energy technologies at its real sea test berths in the UK than any other facility in the world. We have developed a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can now be transferred to the testing and demonstration of floating offshore wind to help it make the most cost effective and rapid transition to commercialisation.

“EMEC is thrilled that this project will enable continuation of the important work that EMEC has been conducting with SEAI on development of offshore test sites in Ireland over the past four years. If floating offshore wind technology can operate reliably and efficiently on the west coast of Ireland, it will work anywhere. Through this project we hope that the successful technology demonstrations will fundamentally expand the global offshore wind market.”

Last month, the EMEC secured lease extension from Crown Estate Scotland for the Fall of Warness tidal energy test site in Orkney till 2040.

The lease extension is expected to support the long-term ambitions and demonstration plans of EMEC’s clients. EMEC’s Fall of Warness site offers tidal energy technology developers, eight grid-connected test berths ranging between 12 and 50m in depth.