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Helping offshore business meet Net Zero UK targets

The Challenge

The UK has an ambitious target to be net-zero by 2050. Achieving this target will require significant investment and expansion in our renewable energy capacity. Key to these plans is expanding the UK’s offshore wind energy capacity. Yet the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) for offshore wind is currently too high to deliver the size of investment that is needed. This is why businesses have been innovating their products and processes to try to reduce the LCOE for offshore wind energy. One important area that has been focussed on is the cost associated with the installation of these devices, which contribute approximately 25% of the LCOE. If these costs can be reduced, it would help support a faster and more successful transition to Net Zero for the UK.

The Strathclyde contribution 

Businesses who are developing offshore windfarms are managing investments often surpassing £100 million, with long and complex supply chains and a significant number of different components and processes. One area that has been identified as being key to realising significant reductions in the LCOE for offshore windfarm developments is optimising the scheduling of the installation. Strathclyde researchers have been working with businesses developing offshore windfarms to simulate and optimise installation schedules, taking into account a wide range of potential factors including the weather and its inherent unpredictability, to enable a faster and more cost-effective installation process. This has resulted in the development of a practical toolkit that can be used by these companies to improve the scheduling of their installations and reduce the cost involved.

The impact

The toolkit that the team developed, and which has been validated by two independent entities, has become integral to the company's operations and planning and is providing a platform for further innovations. The toolkit has provided the foundation for improvements in other aspects of the development of offshore windfarms, including informing the bidding process for new development opportunities where the tool's application has led to capital expenditure reductions by £20 million.

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Further information

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Contact details

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Strathclyde Business School
University of Strathclyde
199 Cathedral Street
G4 0QU

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