The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the Glasgow-based UK innovation centre established to accelerate the growth and commercialisation of offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies, has opened for business with four Pilot Projects which will seek to drive cost reduction and innovation.
The four pilots: the development of a Marine Farm Accelerator; Standardisation; Offshore Cables; and Performance & Reliability will explore the roles each of these areas play in fuelling innovation, promoting competition, lowering technology costs and accelerating market growth. The first two projects will be led by the Carbon Trust with Narec leading on the other two.
Looking at existing systems both within the sector as well as in other industries, these projects will look to develop and roll out a form of Standards; exploit current sector efforts to develop a more efficient system of collecting and sharing offshore renewable device performance data; and create and work with a consortium of project developers to drive accelerated innovation of the technology required to de-risk delivery of early wave and tidal farms and reduce the lifetime cost of offshore renewable energy.
The projects will be carried out by a series of key sector players who will adopt a collaborative approach with others across industry and the academic and public sectors. Each project was identified, prioritised and appraised on its impact on cost of energy production, materiality, UK benefit and risk, and, along with other projects in the pipeline, will eventually lead to full programmes of activity and services for the Catapult.
Both the Performance and Reliability and Offshore Cables projects, led by Narec and supported by the Carbon Trust, are currently delivering a market engagement plan with system operators and project developers, which will be followed by industry workshops to clearly develop the projects’ value proposition to define the associated investment proposals.
The Catapult bridges the gap to enable early stage ideas to become commercialised and established – Andrew Jamieson, CEO of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
Commenting on the drive for the Catapult, CEO Andrew Jamieson said:
“We recognise that the UK has a terrific academic and research sector, and early stage business innovations along with some outstanding industries at the other end. The Catapult bridges the gap to enable early stage ideas to become commercialised and established.”
Collaborative working with the academic and research sector has also kicked off with the Catapult’s first Research Advisory Group (RAG) meeting. With academic input from the length and breadth of the UK, the RAG will act as the Catapult’s primary vehicle to present industry’s demands for innovation, and provide a filter process to prioritise the best academic ideas for commercialisation.
“Collaboration is essential for the industry to come together and learn from what has not been so good in the past but also to correctly identify where the strategic priorities for improvement and new technologies are going to be in the future.”
The Catapult will support SMEs of all sizes and academic and research institutions nationwide in moving early stage ideas through the commercial route for use in industry. This process will bring economic value to the UK with new job creation and new services being pulled through as a result.
The Catapult will also work with the more established side of the sector to identify challenges and opportunities for new innovation to fill. Such activity has led to the development of these four pilot projects.
“Reducing cost is paramount and a lot of activity is needed to achieve this so I am very keen to explore what technology innovation can do in that space” added Jamieson.