EMEC National Floating Wind Test Site

National floating wind test centre

Proposed test site

EMEC has been investigating and examining options for a national floating wind test centre since early 2020 and has identified a specific site 20 km west of Orkney which it believes will be the perfect location. EMEC has accepted a 60 MW grid connection offer to connect its proposed site into Orkney’s soon-to-be-connected 220 MW cable to the Scottish mainland and the UK national grid.

The proposed test site will comprise four grid-connected berths for floating offshore wind turbines up to 20 MW, extending up to 8 berths if there proves to be sufficient demand. With water depths of 80-100 meters, large waves and a mean windspeed of 10.7 m/s, the site will offer floating wind developers representative metocean conditions to those in ScotWind, Celtic Seas and future leasing rounds.

Following extensive research and engagement with industry, the site setup and configuration has been fine-tuned to dovetail the sector’s existing and future requirements, with more than 23 GW of floating wind due to be deployed in UK waters over the next 20 years.

The site has been designed specifically for floating wind developers to de-risk their technologies, putting turbines, floating structures, moorings and other components to the test in an energetic offshore environment. This will enable performance to be refined on a wide range of floating wind technologies prior to commercial scale-up and build-out.

Building on 20 years of experience operating offshore test sites, helping to reduce the time, cost and risk of demonstrating technologies in the sea, EMEC will provide the site management, technical, and supply chain link-up support required to allow developers to focus more intently on developing and demonstrating their technologies.

EMEC published a white paper in 2023 detailing the setting out the needs case for a National Floating Wind Test Centre in the UK. For further details, see: White Paper – UK National Floating Wind Test Centre


Potential economic impact

As well as being a catalyst for floating wind R&D and innovation, the test site will make full use of Scapa Flow and plans for it to become an offshore wind hub, supporting future job creation and supply chain development. This will help capture and retain economic benefit from commercial offshore wind projects in Orkney and the Highlands and Islands. Xodus Group has provided expert support through the initial design phases and both parties are working to establish a longer-term collaboration with the award-winning X-Academy initiative, ensuring that the facility plays a key role in developing the skills needed to grow the sector.

Independent analysis by BiGGAR Economics calculates that the proposed demonstration site has the potential to generate £690 million gross value add (GVA) to the UK economy, £442 million of which will accrue in Scotland. BiGGAR’s economic impact analysis considers the full floating offshore wind value chain, from construction and development of the site through to operation and client demonstration activities. The study anticipates the facility will create 4,160 new jobs in the UK, 2,220 of which will be in Scotland, during its expected 25-year lifetime.


National Floating Wind Test Centre Brochure 



If you’d like to discuss this project with a member of the team, please contact: Stuart Brown, Associate on floating wind | stuart.brown@emec.org.uk









Aquamarine Power


Atlantis Resources Corporation



Naval Group

Naval Group


Open Hydro


Orbital Marine




ScottishPower Renewables



Sustainable Marine Energy

Sustainable Marine Energy


Voith Hydro


Wello Oy

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