British government invests £32M in floating offshore wind to cut natural gas dependency

The British government has announced that it will provide £31.6 million ($42.5 million) to fund the development of floating offshore wind projects in order to reduce the UK’s dependency on increasingly expensive natural gas.

The government funding will be matched by a further £30 million in private investment to advance clean energy deployment.

The UK government website states: "The UK government is today (Tuesday, 25 January) announcing 11 successful projects that will each be awarded up to £10 million as it puts forward £31.6 million to boost the amount of clean renewable energy generated in the country.

"In addition to this, industry will match the investment bringing the total to over £60 million – driving green energy investment and levelling up parts of the country including in Aberdeen, Swansea, and Yorkshire."

Energy Minister Greg Hands said: "These innovative projects will help us expand renewable energy further and faster across the UK and help to reduce our exposure to volatile global gas prices."

Specifically, the money will be used for floating offshore wind research and development. Floating offshore wind costs more than fixed offshore wind, but costs are expected to fall as more floating offshore wind farms are deployed and technology advances.

The 11 projects that will receive funding to develop new floating wind technologies include:

  • A novel anchoring system that will secure floating turbine cables to the seabed at a fraction of the weight of some existing anchors

  • A mooring system that will simplify the initial installation of floating turbines and enable simple disconnection when maintenance is required

  • The development of a floating foundation with a small footprint and integrated wave energy generator to improve power quality

The UK already leads the world in offshore wind deployment and wants to expand the clean energy source further with floating offshore wind, as that enables wind farms to be located in deeper waters.