01 Oct 2010 10:10:13
Carbon Trust launches offshore wind turbine maintenance competition
A competition has been launched to find new solutions to the maintenance challenges presented by wind turbines built hundreds of kilometres offshore.
Backed by the Carbon Trust, the project is looking for new ways of safely transporting engineers to turbines located up to 300km off the coast in extremely difficult conditions.
The trust claims that this could boost revenues by up to £3 billion by increasing the amount of time turbines can generate energy for by four percent.
Typically, offshore conditions mean that turbines can generate power 90 percent of the time.
However, the tough environment present further out at sea, where conditions are in theory better for wind energy generation, could mean that turbines are only able to transfer power for 160 days of the year.
Charles Hendry, minister of state for energy, said: "As developers seek to get wind turbines into deeper waters, where the wind blows more wildly and the waves are stronger, it is vital that access and safety are maximised and costs minimised."
Successful applicants to the competition will be granted funding of up to £100,000 per concept.
The world's largest offshore windfarm – Thanet – was recently opened off the south coast of the UK by Vattenfall.