The UK oil and gas sector’s world-leading experience could be harnessed to put the country at the forefront of the growing offshore renewables market, which is tipped to spend £210bn in the coming decade.
A new series of innovation challenges have been set to the UK oil and gas sector as it continues to come to terms with lower oil prices and weakening demand.
Launched by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult in Aberdeen this week, the challenges urge companies to diversify and take an early lead in the global renewables revolution.
Commercialisation manager at ORE Catapult, Andrew Tippings explained: “Aberdeen, and the UK as a whole, has extensive experience in oil and gas and the skills base, both in exploration and drilling, could be invaluable to the growth and development of offshore renewables.
“The value of this should not be underestimated, particularly at a time when the oil and gas sector continues to contend with lower oil prices and a need to reduce operating costs.
Headquartered in Glasgow, the ORE Catapult is the UK’s flagship technology innovation and research centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, and offers one of the world’s most extensive open-access test facilities.
“Diversifying into renewables provides greater resilience for companies at the same time as providing an opportunity to take an early lead in what will be a huge global industry. It’s an unmissable opportunity.”
Launched ahead of a National Subsea Research Institute Initiative (NSRI) to encourage companies to diversify into offshore renewables, the challenges will invite companies across the UK to develop solutions to a number of issues facing the sector.
- improving maintenance techniques
- finding better foundation fixings for wind and tidal turbines,
- finding cost-effective cable surveying
- finding ice-reduction coatings
The challenges are spread across six broad themes: blades; electrical infrastructure; foundations; operations and maintenance; powertrain innovation, and wave and tidal, and were identified by ORE Catapult in partnership with industry and academia.
Tippings continued: “The aim of these challenges is two-fold, to bring down the overall cost of offshore renewable technology, and to drive growth for UK companies.
“Many of the challenges we’re presenting today are not unique to offshore renewables. Similar issues will be faced by oil and gas companies and related subsea sectors.
“We’ve teamed up with NSRI to highlight these opportunities and make sure that companies grasp them as quickly as possible and steal a march on our global competitors. The emergence of offshore renewables could be Britain’s new oil boom – the potential is absolutely huge.”