11 October 2017
ScottishPower is part of the Iberdrola Group, a global energy company and world leader in wind energy. We operate in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, energy management and supply of gas and electricity in the UK.
ScottishPower is proud to be sponsoring the year’s Innovation Award. We believe that innovation is a vital tool in transitioning towards a sustainable future. We are investing in a diverse portfolio of projects related to smart grids, clean generation, digitization and new technologies and business models. Of course, innovation is at the heart of offshore windfarm project development, and innovation can provide opportunities to develop renewable energy responsibly by protecting and enhancing natural, historic and cultural heritage resources. This is particularly important in the development of offshore wind.
ScottishPower Renewables has commissioned tests to explore whether mats made of synthetic sea grass could be used around the base of its offshore wind turbine foundations to prevent tidal currents from wearing away the seabed which surrounds and supports them. When building a windfarm at sea, this is one of the challenges which developers face and whilst developers have traditionally used rocks and boulders to tackle this problem, ScottishPower Renewables is keen to explore new technology which has the potential to be more effective and cost efficient. This new technology (also known as ‘frond mats’) acts like a bed of natural sea grass or seaweed which slows the flow of water at the base of the foundation, traps sand and other sediments as they are transported through the ‘mat’ by tidal currents and also creates a protective layer around the base of the turbine foundation, reducing the rate of seabed erosion. This technology is being put through its paces at a state-of-the-art testing facility in Oxfordshire and if the test results look positive, this novel sea grass technology could be used to protect the wind turbine foundations on future offshore windfarm projects. It is essential that windfarm infrastructure is protected against the harsh marine environment in which it’s located. This is just one example of the innovative solutions which we are investigating to allow us to deploy turbines in ever harsher conditions while driving down the cost of renewables.