23 April 2012

UK, U.S. to strengthen cooperation on clean energy

Picture: Siemens AG
Picture: Siemens AG
A new memorandum of understanding being agreed this week between the Britain and United States covers collaboration in areas such as power generation, energy transmission and distribution and energy efficiency, says UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

One of the first examples of collaboration will be floating offshore wind. "The UK and U.S. are both making funding available for this technology and we're determined to work together to capitalize on this shared intent," said UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey.

The nations will also enable the sharing of best practice and expertise. Ultimately it is hoped that this approach will result in more cost effective, higher yield floating wind technologies being developed.

The agreement will be signed as energy ministers from 23 of the world's leading economies will gather in London on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss accelerating the transition to clean energy.

The UK benefits from a third of Europe's offshore wind potential and is rated year after year by Ernst & Young as the most attractive market among investors.

Exploiting this economically, particularly in deeper waters off the west of the country, will require significant technology developments to build large offshore wind arrays. Much of the deeper waters between 60 and 100 meters are too deep for fixed structures but benefit from consistently higher wind speeds.

The Clean Energy Ministerial on Wednesday and Thursday will be co-chaired by UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Alongside the talks, Davey will sign a number of bilateral agreements with counterparts from other governments to work in collaboration over the coming years.

Demonstration projects in progress

In the UK, the Energy Technologies Institute is currently in the process of commissioning a GBP25 million offshore wind floating system demonstrator.

Participants chosen to take part in the project will be tasked with the objective of producing by 2016 an offshore wind turbine that can produce 5-7 megawatts.

Selection of the organization to deliver the project is ongoing and an announcement on who will be carrying out the project on behalf of the ETI is expected early next year.

The ETI is also currently investigating various sites that could host the demonstrator and has announced that it is working with WaveHub, 16 kilometers north east of St Ives off the Cornish coast to carry out a site feasibility study.

In the U.S., the Department of Energy have recently announced a USD180 million funding opportunity for up to four Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects in U.S. waters - which potentially could include a floating wind demonstration.

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