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Bids sought for UK offshore energy centre

The technology and innovation centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal power is expected to open in summer 2012.

By Isabella Kaminski

The Technology Strategy Board is calling for expressions of interest from organisations that might lead or form part of a new Offshore Renewable Energy Centre. It is the third technology and innovation centre to be established by the Board, with a government investment of more than £200 million over the next four years.

The centre will provide access to technical expertise, infrastructure, skills and equipment. According to the Technology Strategy Board, it will provide a national focus for joint work between businesses and researchers, attracting work and engagement from across the industry, ranging from multinationals to small businesses, universities and technology organisations.

Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business, says: “The UK is a world leader in offshore engineering and our reputation makes us an excellent location for research in this area. It is vital we invest in renewable energy now to gain maximum benefits in the future.”

According to the Technology Strategy Board, the centre is likely to cover the range of technologies involved in offshore wind power development, taking knowledge from the established offshore engineering industry into the development of foundations, installation, connection, operations and maintenance, turbines, blades and other components. Wave and tidal power will also be a key focus of the centre.

Iain Gray, the Technology Strategy Board’s Chief Executive, says: “Our reputation and expertise in offshore engineering makes the UK an excellent base for innovation relevant to the emerging offshore renewable energy sector. By bringing forward technologies for offshore wind, wave and tidal power, the centre will accelerate commercialisation across the sector. It will pull together UK strengths in research, design, offshore engineering and device/component development. Innovation could accelerate large-scale, commercial deployment in all aspects of offshore renewables and, crucially, reduce the cost of energy generated.”

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.

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Other marine energy and hydropower  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wave and tidal energy  •  Wind power