Levenmouth turbine offers unrivalled opportunity for renewable energy R&D

Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine (Image courtesy of Matthew Kelly)

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult officially unveiled its 7MW demonstration offshore wind turbine in Levenmouth today (Monday 29 February), underlining the vital role that Scotland, and the wider UK, can play in research, technology and skills development at the very heart of the global renewable energy industry.

The Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine, acquired by ORE Catapult from Samsung Heavy Industries in December 2015, is the world’s most advanced, open access, offshore wind turbine dedicated to research, and offers complementary opportunities for economic growth, training and development of skills vital for the future of the offshore wind industry.  

The turbine offers UK industry and academia an unrivalled opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of technologies as well as the operations and maintenance aspects of offshore wind turbines, with the ultimate goal of reducing the cost of energy. ORE Catapult is working closely with key academic and industry stakeholders to align the research programme of the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine with industry priorities to drive cost reduction in offshore wind. 

ORE Catapult is also working with local partners, including Fife Council, Fife College, Levenmouth Academy, Skills Development Scotland and the Energy Skills Partnership, to develop and deliver educational and training programmes that will both support local young adults to move on to further and higher education and develop a unique curriculum to ensure local training programmes deliver employment-focused, in-demand skills to local people. 

Attending the event, the Scottish Government Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland’s research and development in renewables is unrivalled and the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine adds to Scotland’s extensive portfolio of test facilities.

“The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will work with the offshore wind sector, Skills Development Scotland and the Energy Skills Partnership to ensure the knowledge is transferred to industry to help it develop our offshore wind resources, some of the best in the world.

“I am also pleased to see that the local community will benefit from the project through work with local schools and Fife College.”  

(Image right: Fergus Ewing MSP accessing an offshore wind turbine through next generation virtual reality technology developed by Heriot Watt University, in association with Energy Skills Partnership)

Andrew Jamieson, Chief Executive of ORE Catapult, said: “The Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine will play a major part in the development of future technologies to lower the cost of offshore wind. It offers opportunities for UK supply chain and technology development and, sitting so prominently at the heart of the Levenmouth communities, it is vital that the turbine also plays a role in locally developing and supporting the next generation of Scottish engineers, who will ensure that Fife enjoys a bright future thanks to renewable energy.”                           

Professor William Leithead is the Chair of the EPSRC Supergen Wind Hub, and Director of the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre for Wind and Marine Energy Systems. He added: “The Levenmouth turbine is a real game changer for the UK academic community. Until now, we’ve lagged behind our European colleagues in not having open access to a full-scale turbine that can be used to prove and de-risk new research outputs and technologies. 

“Access to the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine will make it possible to position the Scottish, and wider UK academic research community, right at the heart of European wind research, funding opportunities and technology development.” 

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