Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has launched a global competition, said to be worth £20 million prize, to find the best new foundation designs to support the next generation of offshore wind farms. 

The competition, Offshore Wind Accelerator, is to be run by the Carbon Trust.

The competition has been developed to find winning foundation designs suitable for deeper sea water conditions (30-60m) to be used in large scale, at sea, demonstration projects in 2010-2012. 

The target is to deliver a full lifecycle cost reduction of 30 percent over existing foundations for deeper water.

By applying new design techniques to bring down that cost the Carbon Trust is helping the industry make deeper water sites much more commercially viable.

In addition to the Carbon Trust, the competition is also being funded by five wind energy developers: Dong Energy, Airtricity, RWE nPower, ScottishPower Renewables and StatoilHydro. They will jointly fund projects of merit with the ultimate aim of demonstrating new and improved solutions within a time frame of three-five years.

Miliband said the competition offers even more support to the offshore wind industry on top of the measures seen in the Budget.

The Carbon Trust said that it was seeking designs from engineers, academics and research institutes, and would provide £100,000 to each design that makes the short list, providing it with the funding to carry out detailed assessments of the proposals’ viability. The winning design will then receive a multi-million pound prize from the consortium to build and install a pilot version of the foundations. 

The details are as follows: Invitation for Tender / Scope document (including soil conditions) available early May this year; Closing Date for submission to competition June 15; Tender shortlist interviews July 1-2; Notification of successful tenders July 3, 2009.

Source: Wind Energy Updates