Blog 02 Aug 2023

For this year’s Orkney International Science Festival (7 – 13th September),  ScotWind developer Thistle Wind Partners (TWP) will lead a variety of activities on the theme of offshore wind technologies. TWP, which is developing the Ayre and Bowdun offshore wind farms off the coasts of Orkney and Aberdeenshire, is also sponsoring the Sun art installation in St Magnus Cathedral.

The artwork is created from time-lapse photography of the surface of the Sun, taken by NASA spacecraft. Speeded up from weeks to minutes, the filmed sequences show the Sun’s seething fires, its solar storms building and erupting, and the surging flow of energy pouring from the nuclear fires of hydrogen.

The images are projected onto a six-metre-diameter sphere which will be suspended from the Cathedral’s crossing. Visitors to the Cathedral, each day through the Festival period, will be able to stand below to follow the dramatic changes on the solar surface.

Using performance to illuminate offshore wind

TWP is also leading three educational sessions about the fast-paced world of offshore wind technologies. With the developer mixing floating and fixed foundation technologies into their ScotWind projects, they are keen to promote the exciting developments coming up in these areas.

On 7th September, from 11.30 – 12.30, at the Phoenix Cinema in Kirkwall, TWP’s Johan Daelman, Lead Floating Foundations Engineer, will give a talk on the engineering challenges of developing an 18MW-25MW floating turbine, advances in floating wind, and their potential applications for the future.

On 9th September, TWP will hold the debut performances of its engineering play for families Impossible Engineering? starring actors Kit Laveri, Stuart Falconer, and Stuart Fenwick. The play will come with lots of surprises, experiments for the audience and some drama as two engineers from history challenge today’s offshore wind engineers.

And on the same day, TWP will host live experiments in building structures underwater at the OISF’s Family Day in Kirkwall Grammar School.

The TWP team will be on hand to lead a Q&A on their ScotWind projects, and in particular, progress on the Ayre Offshore Wind Farm, which will lie 33km off the East Mainland of Orkney.

Ian Taylor, Project Director at TWP: “ScotWind is truly epic in the scale of its ambition, bringing almost 28GW of offshore wind online with the next decade, more than 40% of that will be based upon the emergent technology of floating wind. While the world is watching Scotland as it forges engineering firsts in areas like floating wind, green hydrogen and battery storage, we still need to explain ScotWind and its impact locally.

“The opportunities for supply chain, upskills and creation of future jobs, are huge – but there is work ahead if we are to maximise the local benefit for Scottish people. Indeed, other members of the TWP team will be in Orkney during the festival to share insights and early thinking directly with the supply chain about pathways into the offshore wind industry and supporting our projects. The OISF presents a compelling opportunity to explain the amazing technologies under development in offshore wind, provide a space for people to put their questions and challenges to us, and bring home the excitement of this historic drive for Net Zero to young audiences.”

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