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Bids are sought to run Offshore Renewable Energy technology and innovation centre

13 July 2011

The establishment of a UK centre of excellence to support the development and commercialisation of offshore renewable energy technologies across the country has drawn closer as the Technology Strategy Board announces that it is seeking expressions of interest from organisations that might lead, or form part of, a new Offshore Renewable Energy technology and innovation centre.

The Offshore Renewable Energy centre will be the third of a network of technology and innovation centres to be established by the Technology Strategy Board, with a government investment of more than £200 million over the next four years.  The first two centres announced relate to high value manufacturing and cell therapies.  The centres will be drivers of future economic growth, attracting substantial investment to establish world-leading capability and global impact in pre-commercial development.

The Offshore Renewable Energy technology and innovation centre will provide improved access to the best technical expertise, infrastructure, skills and equipment, including those scarce resources which companies, particularly small ones, can seldom afford alone.  It will provide a national focus for joint work between businesses and the research base, creating a critical mass of activity which will benefit the wider offshore renewable energy sector, and beyond.  The centre will attract work and engagement from a wide cross-section of industry ranging from multinationals to small businesses, and will work closely with the best universities and technology organisations in the UK and internationally.

The centre is likely to cover the range of technologies involved in offshore wind power development – transferring knowledge from the established offshore engineering industry into foundations, installation, connection, operations and maintenance but also into developing turbines, blades and other subsystems/components, where links with the UK’s lead in high-value manufacturing technologies such as composites, direct drive and control systems may help drive success in these areas.

Marine power – wave and tidal – is further behind wind in terms of its development and deployment but will also be a key focus of the centre, drawing as it does on many of the same underpinning science and engineering capabilities.  Over time, the expertise of the centre could also be applied to other areas of offshore energy technology.

The deadline for registration is 25 August 2011 and organisations must submit their expressions of interest by 1 September 2011. Selected organisations will then be invited to submit full proposals, by 17 November 2011.  The successful bidders will be announced in December 2011 and the centre will begin operations in the summer of 2012.

Detailed information about the call for expressions of interest can be accessed here

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