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RESEARCH & INNOvATION


SECTION SPONSOR


THE ECOWINDS PROJECT


ECOWindS (European Clusters for Offshore Wind Servicing) is an FP7 EU-funded project that has been jointly initiated by the offshore wind clusters of South Denmark, East of England, North-West Germany and the offshore cluster Møre in Norway.


Offshore wind is a fast growing industry across Europe and as it grows the industries focus is on achieving efficient energy generation at a competitive cost. ECOWindS seeks to support this growth by increasing the innovation capacity of the European offshore wind servicing (OWS) sector, establishing and increasing cross-regional co-operation between research organisation and the offshore wind industry, to work towards this cost reduction goal.


OFFSHORE WIND SERVICING The ECOWindS project focuses deliberately on OWS, a distinct subsector of the offshore wind value chain including the processes of assembly, installation, operation and maintenance of offshore wind turbines. Innovations in this area represent significant opportunities for cost reduction with operation and maintenance costs alone accounting for up to 25% of the levelised cost of energy from an offshore wind asset.


While the participating European clusters for the offshore wind and maritime industries are characterised by complementary strengths within the sector, they all face common challenges and bottlenecks that could best be dealt with within a cross- regional collaborative framework.


PROJECT OBJECTIVES


ECOWindS’ objective is to pave the way for new research and knowledge of how the costs of offshore wind energy can be driven down, which is to result in lower and competitive prices. The project will contribute to the growth of many small and medium sized companies and strengthen European competitiveness in the market for offshore wind as well as supporting job creation.


KEY PROJECT OBJECTIVE


The key project objective is to improve the innovation capacity of the European OWS sector, by…


• Improving intra-regional links between authorities, research entities and local business communities for the development of specific research agendas and partnership


• Increasing innovation driven co- operation of the participating clusters and involved stakeholders


• Improving qualification capacities to secure a workforce and researchers that respond to the qualification needs of the OWS sector


• Developing an international co-operation strategy for innovative OWS clusters to internationalise and exploit new business opportunities


• Industry driven recommendations and the creation of a Joint Action Plan


In addition to the project partners, stakeholders from industry, science and government have been involved in all phases of the project to date, to ensure the results and recommendations closely reflect the expertise and understanding of these parties and the true challenges and innovation priorities facing the offshore wind industry.


JOINT ACTION PLAN


Regional OWS research agendas and smart specialisation strategies, therefore, have been developed and integrated in a Joint Action Plan, enabling intensified intra- and interregional research and innovation driven co-operation to ensure more focused and efficient research and development.


The project has recently published the first iteration of the ECOWindS Joint Action Plan (JAP) outlining key research and innovation activities for the cost effective progression of the offshore wind servicing industry.


The JAP; a roadmap for research and development activities, presents 8 recommended actions designed to further the development of the offshore wind industry and contribute to the overall objective of cost reduction through innovation and strengthening the innovative capacities of European maritime regions.


ELABORATING ON RECOMMENDATIONS


The JAP elaborates on recommendations including establishing international OWS-specific standards, establishing experimental sites and research infrastructures for improving OWS and developing OWS-specific skills and training programmes across Europe to ensure supply of relevant skills and competences. It has been developed via ongoing consultation with key stakeholders representing industry, government bodies and education and research institutes. The full plan can be downloaded from the ECOWindS website.


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www.windenergynetwork.co.uk


EAST OF ENGLAND SPOTLIGHT ON


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