TSB seeks interest in offshore renewables technology centre

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) announced today 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 TSB, with a government investment of more than £200m over the next four years.

According to the TSB, the centre will provide improved access to the best technical expertise, infrastructure, skills and equipment and will provide a national focus for joint work between businesses and the research base.  

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 — will also be a key focus of the centre. Over time, the expertise of the centre could also be applied to other areas of offshore energy technology.

‘Our reputation and expertise in offshore engineering makes the UK an excellent base for innovation relevant to the emerging offshore renewable energy sector,’ said Iain Gray, chief executive at the TSB. ‘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 summer 2012.

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