Scottish energy technology companies have been urged to take advantage of a funding pot potentially worth millions of pounds to drive down the cost of offshore windpower.
Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are looking for firms which can help to make offshore windfarms cheaper to instal and maintain.
The business-development agencies said nearly £25billion would have been spent on installing offshore windfarms worldwide by 2020, while the annual cost of operating and maintaining the developments would be £1.2billion by the end of the decade.
SE and HIE said they were looking for technology which could improve the reliability of turbines or make it easier to access the sites to help keep these costs down.
HIE director of energy and low carbon Calum Davidson said: “This innovation call provides companies in the Highlands and islands and across Scotland with the opportunity to develop the critical new solutions which will be instrumental in cutting costs in the fast-growing offshore wind sector.
“Offshore wind will play a hugely significant role in meeting Scotland’s energy targets, and innovation calls such as this will ensure that firms across Scotland will play a central role in this burgeoning industry.”
The call for ideas is the third round of funding for offshore wind technology in three years; the previous two rounds led to applications totalling £800,000, with £250,000 already awarded.
SE said the money available this year could be higher, however, depending on the strength of the applications.
Andy McDonald, director of renewable energy and low-carbon technology at SE, said: “Offshore wind is rapidly expanding on the global stage and Scotland is becoming a key location for innovation in the industry, particularly in the development of the next generation of wind-turbine technologies.
“Thanks to decades of experience in oil and gas, Scotland has built up world-leading offshore engineering and technology expertise.
“However, we know that challenges still exist and we need to look at increasing innovation in the industry to ensure that offshore wind designs meet the challenges of operating at sea.”