Five North East firms will share a £1.7m cash pot after being selected to showcase their innovative technologies to offshore wind industry giants.
The successful companies – Transmission Dynamics in Cramlington, Kinewell Energy in North Shields, Wallsend’s SMD and Newcastle-based Trident Dynamics and Unasys – were invited to demonstrate their advancements to Equinor and EDF Renewables as part of the Technology, Innovation and Green Growth for Offshore Renewables (TIGGOR) programme.
They will now receive a share of £1.7m in match funding, made available through the first round of the TIGGOR programme’s technology demonstration strand, funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) as part of its wider energy, green growth and climate change commitments.
The authority has partnered with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, which is delivering the programme on its behalf.
The companies applied for support to accelerate technology concepts in areas of operations and maintenance for offshore wind, including remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), digital twins, cable arrays and sensors.
They will each now demonstrate their technologies to specialists at Equinor, joint venture partner and future operator of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, and EDF Renewables, which owns and operates the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator wind farm.
Technology assessment and advice will be given on how the technologies could be applied to offshore wind, with ORE Catapult also providing direct support, including access to test and demonstration facilities at its National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.
North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, said: “The offshore wind sector is a major strength in North of Tyne.
“It offers huge potential for good green jobs.
“We used to have thousands of jobs here in shipbuilding and coal mining.
“This partnership with ORE Catapult will develop the engineering applications to bring orders here.
“That means high skilled jobs on good wages and more career opportunities for our kids.”
Graham Smith, R&D programmes manager at ORE Catapult, said: “Supply chain innovation and development is key to the UK maximising impact from the world-leading growth in offshore wind, and this programme provides a platform for companies to both demonstrate their technology and to receive tailored business support.
“These innovative North East businesses will be well positioned to take full advantage of the huge multi-billion offshore wind supply chain opportunity, further increasing local UK content, jobs and manufacturing”
Andrew Saunders, Dogger Bank operations and maintenance leader at Equinor, said: “As we build up our operations for Dogger Bank from the Port of Tyne, digitalisation and innovation remain at the core of our operations strategy.
“We know the North East has a lot to offer and we’re delighted to collaborate with North of Tyne Combined Authority, ORE Catapult and EDF Renewables to deliver this important programme with innovative businesses in the region.”
Michele Schiavone, director of offshore wind at EDF Renewables UK, said: “We are excited to see these new innovative technologies and how they can be used in future offshore wind farms. Offshore wind is something we are already developing with our Neart na Gaoithe project in Scotland and Codling in Ireland. We are committed to using local content as we’ve already demonstrated and we are keen to have more offshore projects to help accelerate to net zero.”
The firms taking part in the TIGGOR programme said they were delighted to be able to work with the industry partners.
Andrew Jenkins, chief executive and founder of Kinewell Energy, said: “Our funded project will see us deliver a new-to-market game-changing technology related to offshore wind inter-array cable systems, substantially contributing towards the industry’s continuous cost reduction trajectory. We are a North East-based worldwide company and we look forward to creating more high-value green jobs in the North of Tyne region as we grow.”
Jenny Hudson, project manager at Transmission Dynamics, said: “Transmission Dynamics are committed to continually driving innovation in the offshore wind industry.”
Max Dubois, managing director of Trident Dynamics, added: ”Trident Dynamics are developing a range of disruptive marine capabilities specifically for the offshore renewable energy sector.
“We are delighted to have the support of the TIGGOR programme and look forward to working closely with ORE Catapult.”