OREC, EIC link for commercialisation

The UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the Glasgow-based innovation centre, has signed a collaboration agreement with the private sector-backed Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), to bring new technology to commercial reality in the offshore renewables sector.

ORE Catapult,  set up to speed up commercialisation of offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies,  was launched this year by the government’s Technology Strategy Board.

In collaboration with industry and academia, it provides engineering, technology and commercialisation expertise to small-and medium-sized (SME) enterprises to speed up the delivery of technology innovation to meet the challenge of harnessing low-carbon power from offshore wind, wave and tidal energy.

Cheshire-based EIC is a partnership set up five years ago by the UK’s leading electricity and gas networks to seek out novel technologies and systems from the UK and around the world that have the potential to transform power networks.

It is understood the two will collaborate on a host of areas of innovation which they claim will offer up solutions to cross-industry problems, for instance on wind farms in areas such as cable installation, health and safety, diagnostics, security and reliability.

On marine renewables – which is a far less mature technology – the two will work together on any areas of innovation which will help to drive down costs.

“This is an important move which fits in well with our overall aim of helping UK businesses to transform early-stage technology into viable, commercialised products and services to generate economic growth,” says ORE Catapult chief executive Andrew Jamieson.

“We are a proven route to market for SMEs, but we now need a route to the offshore renewables sector market. Linking with ORE Catapult will give many of our customers, the SMEs who are developing the technology and services, a direct route into that end of the supply chain - the big manufacturers and the big players in the offshore renewable energy space,” says EIC managing director Denise Massey.

“Because we’re working within the gas sector and the electricity sector, we can leverage funding, for example for the electricity networks.

“When we work with ORE Catapult, we can bring in other funding so that it shares the risk for energy customers, and is cheaper for them and cheaper for the offshore renewables sector. So we attract new funding and there will be potential where the ORE Catapult will want to collaborate in projects with the transition networks, sharing costs and sharing risks.”