|29 July 2016|

Scotland

The Scottish Government is giving financial backing to a pioneering new scheme which uses Virtual Reality (VR) to strengthen the skills of those working in renewables.

It has pledged £300,000 for research and training projects across the country to capitalise on Scotland’s wealth of natural resources.

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, a leading offshore renewable research centre, will receive £215,000 to develop a digital clone of their demonstration offshore wind turbine, opening up more industrial and academic research opportunities.

The Energy Skills Partnership will receive £85,000 to support their virtual reality and work training programmes, ensuring that Scotland has the workforce and skills required by the energy sector in the future.

Visiting the Catapult’s demonstration offshore wind turbine in Levenmouth, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said: “Over the longer term, Scotland will need to transition its primary energy from fossil fuels to renewable sources. This represents a huge opportunity as the country looks to increase vastly its demand for renewable electricity and heat.

“This is why we must have a workforce with the skills needed to help grow this industry.

“It is fantastic news that projects such as those we are announcing funding for today are looking to the future by striving to meet industry’s needs. They are new innovative projects, which represent exactly what we are looking for to boost the renewable energy sector and Scotland’s economy.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Strategy & Commercialisation Director for ORE Catapult, said: “The creation of a virtual turbine, or ‘digital clone’, through sensors on the blades, tower and foundation, will enable us to develop a unique understanding of the performance, forces and strains on a next-generation offshore wind turbine.

“Not only will the project enable extensive future research and new opportunities for Scottish engineering and technology companies, but the resulting data will enable us to enhance future turbine design and potentially drive significant cost reduction”.

Jim Brown, Director of the Energy Skills Partnership (ESP) said: “Our development of a highly realistic immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) version of the Levenmouth Turbine is a tremendous opportunity to develop the skills and jobs required by the growing offshore renewables industry in Scotland”.

“This funding will enable us to work with partners Heriot Watt University and ORE Catapult to further develop the system, and deliver a huge impact for the sector. ESP are delighted to be leading on this as part of our innovation in education work.”