The Renewable Energy Technology Accelerator (RETA) project will start off with three new collaborations, helping develop technologies to reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy installations. Overall, the project is expected to provide more than 70 regional SMEs with technical and market advisory services to help them develop products and services aimed at the offshore renewables industry.
“Narec has created this programme to build on the strengths of local engineering companies,” said Tony Ikwue, innovation and corporate development director at Narec. “Initial interest from industry has been extremely high and the projects selected will see new products being developed in the North East.”
There will also be supply contracts and knowledge transfer opportunities available for SMEs.
The European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme 2007- 2013, which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, is investing £1.39 million in the project. This funding is being matched by Narec along with five industry partners and all work will be undertaken in the North East to engage local companies.
The three collaborations are:
Inter-array cable trencher: IHC Engineering Business will work with Narec on the development of an inter-array cable trencher for offshore wind farms. This will be suitable for trenching both away from and towards turbine and substation foundations in seabed conditions representative of planned UK offshore wind sites.
Smart cables for offshore power transmission: Tecnalia will work with PDL Solutions and JDR Cable Systems on the design and development of smart cable technology. Offshore grid infrastructure reliability is a key concern and this project will focus on improving the understanding of cable performance in-situ, so that installation, operational and asset management practices can be evolved to optimise energy production.
Tidal energy converter nacelle intervention system: This project, currently in development, will enable Atlantis Resources Corporation to work with Narec on the development of a highly innovative nacelle intervention system for their tidal energy turbine. This is intended to significantly reduce the installation and operation costs offshore.