WOOD has won a contract to work on a floating windfarm amid growing interest in an energy generation technology it is thought could be deployed widely in the North Sea.

The Aberdeen-based oil services heavyweight has been appointed to complete early stage design work in connection with a windfarm that Simply Blue Energy plans to deploy off the west coast of Ireland.

It said the Western Star project aims to harness the vast wind power of the Atlantic Ocean to produce clean, sustainable energy.

Andy Hemingway, President of Energy, Innovation and Optimisation at Wood, said: “As an emerging technology, floating wind farms could supercharge the world’s renewable energy capacity and will be an important part of the global energy transition. Investing in this technology of the future will help Ireland reach its targets on greenhouse gas emissions.”

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Experts think floating facilities could be used to maximise the potential to generate wind energy in the North Sea. They could be used in deepwater areas far from land in which the costs of building and operating windfarms fixed to the seabed may be prohibitive.

The Hywind floating windfarm off Peterhead was the first of its kind to be brought into operation in the world. Norway’s Equinor started generating power from it in 2017.

On its website Equinor notes: “Winds are stronger and more consistent further out to sea.”

On Wednesday Scottish energy giant SSE made clear it felt that floating windfarms in the UK North Sea could be an attractive investment proposition.

READ MORE: Energy giant underlines value of windfarm licences off Scotland ahead of key auction

Describing SSE as probably the most successful offshore wind builder in Scotland, chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies indicated the company had already identified suitable locations off Scotland.

Mr Phillips-Davies confirmed that SSE planned to bid for licences off Scotland in the forthcoming ScotWind licensing round and said the company was considering fixed and floating windfarms. He observed: “We expect floating to be a big part of what is required. I would expect quite a lot of the sites that we go after to have significant floating elements.”

Wood has invested heavily in growing its presence in markets such as renewable energy under chief executive Robin Watson’s drive to help the group reduce its reliance on the oil services business in which it achieved renown. Firms have slashed spending in the North Sea amid the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.