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Funding call for research and development projects for next generation offshore wind innovation

22 February 2013

Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise have launched a research and development funding call to support project ideas with the potential to reduce the cost of producing energy from offshore wind.

R&D funding is available to support the development of the offshore wind industry in Scotland, which it’s estimated has a direct market value of over £7 billion.

The funding call is seeking projects that meet some of the challenges the industry faces regarding installation, operation and maintenance (IOM) from businesses of all sizes, located within Scotland.

Currently installation accounts for 11 per cent of the cost of producing offshore wind energy, while operations and maintenance is 19 per cent. It is estimated that the global spend on installation will have reached £24 billion by 2020 and at the same point global annual spend on operation and maintenance will stand at nearly £1.2 billion.

The call is looking to support solutions that could address improvements to component quality and reliability; new technologies to facilitate installation and access; or novel approaches to carrying out IOM and the logistics that will underpin IOM activities.

Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise said:

“This innovation call provides companies in the Highlands and Islands and across Scotland with the opportunity to develop the critical new solutions which will be instrumental in cutting costs in the fast-growing offshore wind sector. Offshore wind will play a hugely significant role in meeting Scotland’s energy targets, and innovation calls such as this will ensure that firms across Scotland will play a central role in this burgeoning industry.”

Andy McDonald, Director of Renewable Energy and Low Carbon Technology at Scottish Enterprise, said:

“Offshore wind is rapidly expanding on the global stage and Scotland is becoming a key location for innovation in the industry – particularly in the development of the next generation of wind turbine technologies.

“Thanks to decades of experience in oil & gas, Scotland has built up world leading offshore engineering and technology expertise. However, we know that challenges still exist and we need to look at increasing innovation in the industry to ensure that offshore wind designs meet the challenges of operating at sea.

“We want to work with more Scottish companies with the potential to deliver innovative solutions to some of these challenges to ensure the industry reaches its full potential.”

Other priority areas include drive train design integration and alternative support structures and foundations for challenging environments. Further calls will be made in Spring and Summer 2013.

Interested companies and academic institutes should submit an online enquiry here by Friday 29th March 2013

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