Robot boats with drones guided by artificial intelligence will take to Britain’s seas to repair offshore wind farms within two years, a coalition of arms makers, space scientists and green energy experts said yesterday. A £4 million project funded by the government will develop an autonomous mothership that will transport a fleet of self-piloting drones, which will carry a swarm of six-legged, insect-like robots known as Bladebugs. These will use suction pads to cling to the blades of wind turbines and assess them for wear and tear. They should also be able to carry out basic repairs such as sanding and repainting damaged areas. The system will also make use of artificial intelligence techniques pioneered by Nasa to run unmanned space missions. It will be tested at Levenmouth in Fife using a wind turbine owned by a renewable energy research facility funded by the government.
Times 29th May 2019 read more »
The cost to energy bill payers of supporting new offshore wind farms could shrink to zero following a new subsidy auction to be fought this week. Major energy companies including SSE, Scottish Power and Innogy are expected to drive the price of government support contracts to record lows. The energy titans, including Norway’s state energy giant, will begin the battle to clinch 15-year contracts for seven new offshore projects from Wednesday. The offshore wind farms bidding would add an extra 8.4GW of power generation capacity to the UK by 2025. But a maximum of only 6GW, or enough to power 350,000 homes, will be allowed to clinch a contract in this bidding round. Luke Clark, of RenewableUK, predicted that the competition to win a 15-year support contract would deliver “record amounts of new generating capacity at record low prices”. For projects generating electricity from 2023 the maximum price for bidders is £56 a megawatt-hour, and for those that begin spinning a year later the price falls to £53/MWh. The starting bids are only slightly higher than official estimates for the average wholesale electricity price, which is pegged at between £48.62/MWh and £51.32/MWh for the relevant years. Weijie Mak, an analyst at Aurora Energy, said projects that are able to bid for a strike price of between £47/MWh to £49/MWh would be effectively “subsidy-free” because the need for top-up payments would be unlikely.
Telegraph 28th May 2019 read more »