Atlantis AR1500 tidal turbine at Catapult Blyth
Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

North East hailed as ‘world-leader in offshore and subsea technology’

A new audit of the offshore renewable energy industry in the North of England and Scotland (published 21 September) has revealed the strong contribution the areas contribute to the UK’s position as a global leader in innovation in offshore renewable energy.

The report highlights the area’s world-class research in the field of offshore renewable energy, the strong supply chain, and the many innovation programmes and strong collaborations between industry and academia.

The Offshore Renewable Energy Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) was one of eight audits commissioned by Government to set out the UK’s strengths in key areas.

The audits help regions to map their research and innovation strengths and identify areas of potential global competitive advantage.

This SIA focused on the international competitiveness of the research and innovation activities in Northern England and Scotland in offshore renewable energy, the future needs in innovation and the skilled workforce in the sector.

The audit looked at the offshore renewable energy sector at major ports in the North East, Tees Valley, Humber and Liverpool local enterprise partnership areas and Scotland.

Led by Newcastle University, the project saw collaboration between Scottish Enterprise, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, four Local Enterprise Partnerships and Durham, Liverpool and Hull Universities.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was among those involved in the project. The subsea and offshore sector has been identified as one of four key areas of opportunity in its Strategic Economic Plan.

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP chair, said: “The SIA was a fantastic collaboration between the organisations that came together to produce this important report.

“The North East is a world-leader in offshore and subsea technology. The region is one of six nationally designated Centres for Offshore Renewables Engineering.

“We’re delighted to have been a part of the audit, which has highlighted the globally-significant contribution the North and Scotland make to the UK through our strong offshore sector.”

Business Minister Lord Prior commented: “The Science and Innovation Audits we are publishing today highlight the innovative strengths in regions across the UK and the significant growth and investment opportunities they present.

“Together with our record investment of an additional £4.7 billion for research and development to 2020/21, we are working closely with regional businesses and partners to ensure the ambitions set out in these reports are delivered to maintain our status as a science powerhouse.”

Professor Nick Wright, PVC Innovation and Business, Newcastle University, added: “The SIA on offshore energy has confirmed that the North of England and Scotland together constitute a world-class cluster of activities in this crucial field.

“It was a great pleasure to see the wonderful progress being made across the board from offshore wind to wave and tidal energies and also see the future potential for this region.

“The report highlights some major opportunities for the cluster in terms of new technologies and we look forward to working with the Government to drive those forward.”

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