A new £1.5 million innovation fund is to be launched by wind power developer Vattenfall and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, with testing planned off the coast of Aberdeen.
The Swedish firm said the new offshore wind supply chain fund will be open to firms across the UK to test and develop products under “real-world conditions” at the £300 million European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).
The 11 turbine EOWDC sites 1.5 miles off coast in Aberdeen Bay.
Vattenfall claimed the new fund could help solve “current operations and maintenance challenges facing the industry”.
Danielle Lane, Vattenfall’s UK country manager, said: “It’s with innovation – proved in the stormy seas off the Aberdeenshire coast – that the offshore wind industry will make a crucial contribution to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“This £1.5 million programme agreed between Vattenfall and ORE Catapult makes broader thinking real by giving talented innovators from across the UK the chance to test the potential of their creations in the best possible environment – the real world.
“And innovation is more easily made commercial in a positive policy framework.
“That’s why the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, agreed between the industry and the UK government, is so important to securing the long-term potential of the innovation we will see tested at the EOWDC.”
Fears over job numbers from the offshore wind supply chain culminated in a Scottish Government summit in May, with trade unions calling it a “make or break” moment for the renewables sector in Scotland.
The new Offshore Wind Sector Deal, announced by the UK Government in March, also pledged to support the wind power supply chain.
Vattenfall claimed the new funding could help secure “a route to market” products for for a number of firms.
Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s operational performance director, described the fund as providing a “unique opportunity” for UK firms to “bring new technologies to market”.
He added: “Accessing real-world opportunities to test, demonstrate and validate their technologies is often a real barrier to commercialisation for small innovators, and therefore this investment should give UK companies a crucial edge in developing technology and services for the new wave of offshore wind developments and help the UK government to meet its target of generating at least a third of the UK’s electricity from offshore wind by 2030.”