The UK has the world’s highest offshore wind electricity generation capacity. By 2016 it had over 4GW installed but more needs to be done to drive down the cost of offshore wind so it can compete with both current fossil fuel technologies and the lowest priced forms of low carbon energy generation. The UK Government has set a target for 2026 of £85/MWh for electricity from offshore wind. Current prices are in excess of £100/MWh.
The success of the Energy Technologies Institute’s (ETI) investment in Blade Dynamics, an innovative UK SME set up to develop and manufacture wind turbine blades, has shown the value of underpinning innovation with effective collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Delivery of this successful project involved interactions across business, science and the government. Business through deep engagement with internationally renownedwind turbine suppliers, science through using world leading open-access test facilities in the UK and government and policy makers through the ETI who also enabled business engagement by financing the highest risk elements of the project. These interactions were set up to facilitate knowledge transfer and learning and ultimately led to the purchase of the company by a global turbine OEM.The transition to a low carbon energy system will be achieved more quickly and cost effectively with a shared understanding of the drivers for new technologies and the engagement of groups who can accept and manage the associated risks. The UK has specific cost reduction targets for the offshore wind sector and the technology that Blade Dynamics developed with the ETI now promises to challenge other suppliers, providing an important contribution to the delivery of these targets.