Business Secretary Vince Cable yesterday announced the location of a new £50 million centre, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, to accelerate the development of clean technologies.
The project is designed to accelerate the development of offshore renewable energy is to be based in Glasgow. The Catapult – the new name given to the Technology Innovation Centres – will be headquartered at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and have an operational centre at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in north-east England.
The centre will focus on offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies – and particularly the gap between academic research and commercialisation, supported by £10 million a year over the next five years. The centre will become a world-leading hub of expertise, developing innovative technologies that will reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy and help transform the UK into a low carbon economy.
It will aim to build strong relationships with the UK’s other centres of excellence such as Wave Hub and the marine energy park in the southwest.
“Our offshore renewable sector can compete on a global scale and has huge potential for growth. If we can harness that we will generate billions of pounds for the economy whilst creating thousands of job opportunities at the same time,” commented Cable.
The Scottish centre is one of a series of such ‘catapult’ centres across the UK in different sectors managed by the government-backed Technology Strategy Board. A £140 million High Value Manufacturing Catapult is already in operation across the UK and a £50 million Cell Therapy Catapult is being set up in London.
“Our reputation and expertise in offshore engineering, gained through many years of commercial North Sea oil activity, makes the UK an excellent base for innovation relevant to the emerging offshore renewable energy sector,” says Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board.