The location of a new £50 m centre that will accelerate the commercialisation of green technologies has recently been announced by the Business secretary Vince Cable.
The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will be headquartered at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow with a second base at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in the North East of England.
The national centre will focus on technologies for offshore wind, wave and tidal power and is designed to bridge the gap between university research and full commercialisation. It will have a UK wide remit, and build strong links with centres of excellence such as Wave Hub and the marine energy park in the South West of England.
Speaking at the launch of the Catapult in Glasgow, Vince Cable said, “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.
“The Catapult centre will be based in a Scottish world class centre of excellence, part of a collaboration with a centre in the North East of England.”
The announcement is part of the government’s investment in a network of Catapult centres across a number of sectors. The £140m High Value Manufacturing Catapult is now operating across seven locations around the UK. A £50m Cell Therapy Catapult will be established in London and a Satellite Applications Catapult and Connected Digital Economy Catapult will be set up later this year.
The Catapult centre programme is managed by the Technology Strategy Board as part of a wider support package for innovation.
Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, commented, “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.
“The generation and supply of renewable energy is now a major component of global energy and economic policies. UK businesses have an opportunity to be a significant part in this global industry.”
The Secretary of State announced the decision to create an Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Liverpool in May 2011, and is expected to be open by this summer.
The centre will be delivered by a consortium comprised of the Carbon Trust, Narec and Ocean Energy innovation (itself an industrially led group with strong links into the world class capabilities developed at universities such as Strathclyde and Edinburgh).
Professor Jim McDonald, chairman of the Energy Technology Board and Principal of the University of Strathclyde, added, “I am delighted that this truly collaborative bid has been successful. By securing the UK Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the country will build on our already globally competitive reputation for advances in renewable technology and deployment.
“Our world class research base offers distinct advantages and will accelerate industrial innovation. We will help to develop and drive the industry over the coming ten years and beyond.
“We aim to make the ORE Catapult the world’s pre-eminent centre of expertise for rapid development and commercialisation of highly innovative technologies that will substantially reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy.”