UK Government Offers £10 Million to Spur Offshore Wind Innovation

Innovators with novel ideas to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy are being invited by the UK Government to get their ideas off the drawing board and into turbines out at sea with the launch of two competitions.

As highlighted in the Offshore Wind Technology Innovation Needs Assessment (TINA) published by the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG) in February this year, offshore wind has tremendous potential to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels, helping cut carbon and meet the UK’s renewables targets. Innovation is key to improving efficiency and cutting costs but further investment is needed in this area.

Up to £7million is available under the third round of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) component technologies development and demonstration scheme. DECC and TSB expect to help fund between 5 and 10 projects, depending on the volume and quality of the applications received and the deadline for applications to DECC is noon on 16 January 2013.

Previous winners under the first round include Yorkshire-based company David Brown Gear Systems Ltd, which was awarded £1.2 million to help develop its 7MW offshore wind turbine gearbox, and Gravitas Offshore Ltd, based in Maidenhead, which received over £500,000 to help develop and demonstrate its concrete gravity foundation for large offshore wind turbines. Winners of the second round will be announced soon.

Interested organisations can also apply for a share of £3 million for the development of technical feasibility studies in the offshore wind innovation arena. This funding can be used to explore new ideas currently in the early stages of research and applications are encouraged from a range of sectors including those such as aerospace and oil and gas where the adaptation of existing technologies for the offshore wind sector could help cut costs in the future. Applications must be submitted to the TSB before noon on 16 January 2013.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker says: “This cash will help innovators across the UK develop a range of new ideas to cut costs and make offshore wind turbines more efficient to run. This new investment follows two successful rounds of our offshore wind innovation scheme and I would encourage companies who haven’t yet taken advantage of this funding to get on board.”

Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board Iain Gray says: “Through this funding we want to encourage the development of technologies that will reduce the cost of energy from offshore wind farms, while ensuring that companies in theUKsupply chain increase their share of the market. We’d particularly welcome ideas from companies in parallel sectors – such as oil and gas, aerospace and manufacturing – who may wish to expand into the offshore wind sector.”

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