Does the future of Scotland’s offshore wind lie underwater?

Aker Offshore Wind has unveiled plans for an underwater substation that promises to bring various cost and reliability benefits to the industry

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Offshore wind developer Aker Offshore Wind has unveiled plans to develop what is described as Scotland’s first offshore wind underwater substation.

Electricity substations, which are traditionally built above sea level, are considered important structures for offshore wind as they collect the power from turbines and move it into homes and businesses.

Being part of the company’s bids for major offshore windfarms in the coming ScotWind leasing round, the project is designed to bring reliability and cost benefits to operators.

The development can benefit from the seawater’s role as a natural cooling system while its reliability can be increased through stable temperatures, fewer components and no rotating parts.

The firm also expects that the underwater substation could lead to a decrease in operational costs as there will be reduced material use and therefore less need for maintenance.

Sian Lloyd-Rees, Managing Director of Aker Offshore Wind UK, said: “It will revolutionise how energy is produced and present Scotland with the opportunity to export genuinely innovative technology to the rest of the world.

“This technology would be supported by tens of millions of investment and work would start next year.”

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