The offshore wind industry could feature futuristic technologies like drone motherships, robots and 40-rotor turbines by 2050.
That’s according to the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, which predicts offshore wind could become the backbone of the UK’s energy mix within 12 years, potentially meeting around a third of the UK’s electricity demand .
It suggests within the next couple of decades, automated motherships will travel to hazardous offshore locations, where they will deploy armies of robots to carry out maintenance and basic repairs much more cheaply than previously possible.
The ORE Catapult expects turbines will become bigger, with engineering requirements and weight limits meaning innovative new multi-rotor designs and vertical axis turbines will need to be developed.
It adds issues faced by the intermittency of wind power will be overcome with fully-developed energy storage technology.
Dr Stephen Wyatt, Research and Innovation Director at ORE Catapult, said: “While we will see an increase in automation and robotics, this new wave of offshore technology will in fact create jobs, with engineers and programmers required to create, maintain and operate these devices.”