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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Clean growth as a business opportunity: A Partnership for the future in offshore wind

Durham University is supporting the UK Offshore Wind Industry to become a global leader. The UK has the largest amount of operational offshore wind capacity of any country and working with industry leaders, our research is helping to reduce costs, improve turbine design and enhance maintenance and operation in the sector.

Offshore wind can be the backbone of our future energy system in the UK and the industry’s ambition is to provide a third of the country’s electricity needs by 2030. Since our partnership with Durham University began in 2011, we have provided funding of more than £1 million to support state of the art research to accelerate the advancement of offshore wind technology as we maintain the UK’s global leadership position.

The cost of offshore wind has come down rapidly in the past few years and by working closely with Durham University and other partners, we can continue innovating to make projects cheaper, safer and more efficient. We look forward to the outcomes of our current work with Durham’s world-class academic researchers to deliver further solutions for the offshore wind industry.

Benj Sykes, UK Country Manager at Ørsted

Durham University has a long-term partnership with Ørsted, the leading offshore wind developer in the world. We have engaged in a range of exciting collaborative initiatives with Ørsted, which are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of the industry.

The research we are doing through our Ørsted partnership will help to make the UK wind sector even more economically competitive and a reliable part of the UK and European energy mix moving forward.

We are working with Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy on A New Partnership in Offshore Wind - a five-year programme which will address current and future challenges in order to reduce the cost of electricity from offshore wind. Engineering experts from Durham University are working on projects aimed at reducing the operation and maintenance costs of offshore wind turbines to ensure the efficient running of wind farms, and on projects connected to anchoring of offshore structures. Technologies being developed at Durham will include new methods and sensors for earlier detection of emerging faults before the turbines need to go off line, better turbine blade and tower inspection techniques, improved analytical models for seabed soils and better designs for seabed anchors.

The research is helping to increase the reliability of wind farms and lower the costs of wind energy.

We are also working with Ørsted on Project Aura which is led by the University of Hull. Aura combines academic expertise with industry know-how, bringing together multi-disciplinary excellence, knowledge and innovation for the offshore wind industry. A key focus for Aura is to develop the skills base and supply chain needed by the expanding UK Offshore Wind sector, ensuring the UK is best placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented.

Offshore wind energy is a major opportunity for UK businesses. Ørsted is committed to developing and growing a UK supply chain that can not only support projects in the UK, but export to projects worldwide as the offshore wind industry grows. Offshore wind exports could grow five-fold by 2030 and the UK supply chain needs to be ready to leverage and benefit from this clean growth revolution.

Further reducing the cost of energy from offshore wind is critical to the long-term sustainability of the industry. This will only happen if universities continue to innovate and deliver new concepts and techniques that industry can take forward to commercial deployment. Durham University has a strong track record in this area.

The long-standing partnership between Durham Energy Institute and Ørsted has also included Ørsted supporting a Chair in Renewable Energy position, PhD research collaborations and endowing MSc scholarships for Durham University students each year since 2011.

Durham Energy Institute addresses energy challenges collaboratively through strong partnerships with industry ensuring exciting research initiatives with real world applications that achieve maximum impact in the energy sector.