The United Kingdom is set to create the largest offshore wind “living lab” in the world off the Grimsby coast to test and develop robotics and autonomous solutions for the offshore wind industry. The £2.8m project, led by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, aims to accelerate the development of digital technologies essential for the expansion of offshore wind generation needed to meet climate targets.
The project involves constructing a 5G Testbed that includes Grimsby Port and the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm. A consortium, comprising Microsoft, Vilicom, JET Connectivity, XceCo, Associated British Ports (ABP), Acceleran, and Satellite Applications Catapult, is driving the project forward. The initiative seeks to reduce the operation and maintenance (O&M) costs that currently account for 25% of an offshore wind farm’s total lifetime cost. Robotics and autonomous solutions are seen as key to achieving this goal.
The 5G Testbed will enable technology providers to test and demonstrate their equipment in real-world conditions, while also benefiting from reliable, high-speed communications. The project aims to initiate a digital revolution in offshore wind O&M in the region and attract users from the global offshore wind sector.