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£10M in offshore wind grants

The government will later today announce £10M in grants to companies to develop the offshore wind supply chain and new turbine manufacturing.

Siemens Windpower is the big winner, securing a £5M grant to develop 6MW offshore wind turbines with an integrated foundation design, to be developed in the UK.

The remainder of the cash will go to 7 UK companies to stimulate the offshore wind supply chain, investing 25% for next-generation technologies for the offshore wind industry.

Secretary of State for energy Chris Huhne will say: “Offshore wind will be very significant in the energy mix as we move to low carbon, sustainable energy supplies. The UK has a wealth of natural resource and coastlines for offshore wind. We are already world leaders in building offshore wind but we must do much, much more.

“These investments can help our own businesses reap the benefits of renewable energy and help lower costs to consumers.

“That’s why it’s important that we support UK supply chain companies even in these tough economic times with grants to help them develop technologies to fit the emerging market.”

This is the first round of grants to be released by the new coalition government since the Budget.

UK Companies winning grants are:

  • £2M to JDR Cable Systems Ltd - Hartlepool, to develop High Voltage Export & array cables for distribution of power from next generation, multi Megawatt turbines
  • £1M to Converteam - Rugby for Large scale DC conversion technology
  • £256,250 to Cooper Rolling Bearings – Kings Lynn Norfolk, to develop and demonstrate the use of split bearing technology in large scale wind applications
  • £300,000 to South Boats Special Projects Ltd – Isle of Wight to develop modular designs for offshore wind farm support vessels
  • £250,000 to MTL Group – Sheffield to develop mass manufacturing techniques for jacket and monopile sub-assemblies
  • £400,000 to Blade Dynamics – Isle of Wight to develop and demonstrate use of modular blade assembly
  • £800,000 to NGentec – Edinburgh to develop and demonstrate new innovative 6MW generator

Director of Economics & Markets at RenewableUK, Gordon Edge, said: “We are delighted that the importance and potential of the UK offshore wind sector has been recognised in this way, particularly in light of the current economic climate. This is an essential investment that will more than pay for itself in the short-term by way of job creation and the development of a strong UK supply chain. It sends a positive signal that the UK is serious about offshore wind.”

Chief executive of the Carbon Trust, which has its own ‘accelerator’ programme for the offshore wind market, Tom Delay, also welcomed the move. “Offshore wind is one of the greatest opportunities of this century, to stimulate economic growth through the rebirth of the UK’s manufacturing sector.

“We have one of the largest offshore wind markets on our doorstep and we now need to focus on building a robust supply chain to secure Britain’s position as a leader in this sector. The pace and scale of development needed to ramp up the UK’s offshore wind supply chain cannot be overstated and we strongly believe that continuing to invest public funds efficiently and effectively to boost the companies developing truly novel technologies will deliver significant economic and environmental benefits for Britain.

“The line up of companies revealed by the Government as recipients of new grant funding are a mix of those which have built significant presence in the offshore wind sector and those looking to innovate to bring highly relevant knowledge and skill from other sectors.  

“These businesses are great examples of an emerging supply chain which is set to grow into a world leader if it continues to get the right support to continue to develop novel technology solutions to grasp the sizeable opportunities in this emerging sector,” he said.

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