New £2m UK-China offshore wind research centre open

It will support market entry for UK businesses in China and provide commercial support for Chinese offshore wind developers

A new £2 million UK-China research centre for offshore wind has officially been opened.

Located in Yantai City, the TUS-ORE Catapult Research Centre (TORC) will develop collaborative research programmes, support market entry and incubation for UK businesses in China and commercial support for Chinese offshore wind developers.

It will also support the demonstration of new technologies on a 300MW wind farm in the Shandong Province.

The announcement has been made amid a week-long trade mission to China for 11 innovative UK companies to explore opportunities presented by the growing offshore wind market.

The Innovate UK Global Business Innovation Programme offshore wind mission was set up to provide innovative companies with an opportunity to both engage with potential Chinese technology partners in the sector and gain an insight as to how their technology development programmes can be adapted for the market.

China is predicted to become the world’s largest offshore wind market by 2030, with the government investing $100 billion (£76bn) in wind projects by 2020 and aiming to install 5GW of offshore wind in the South China Sea and a further 10GW in planning.

Andrew Jamieson, ORE Catapult’s Chief Executive said: “Our new Research Centre, in partnership with TUS, will support UK businesses as they take advantage of a new wave of opportunities to engage with one of the fastest-growing offshore wind markets in the world – and present a fantastic opportunity to develop a supply chain that can compete on a global scale.

“With more than a decade of experience and expertise in this sector and global exports expected to be worth £2.6 billion a year by 2030 for UK companies, now is the time for innovative companies to act and establish themselves at the heart of the Chinese market.”

The UK Government recently set out the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which aims to ensure at least 33% of the sector’s workforce consists of women and a third of electricity is generated by the renewable technology.

Additional Information

Priority research programmes for the new Tus-ORE Catapult Research Centre include:

  • Next generation component design/manufacture for improved reliability of wind turbines (including novel generator and subcomponent design)
  • Novel installation technologies to reduce costs and risk for windfarm installation (including technologies relating to foundation installation, cable trenching and environmental issues)
  • Improved Operations & Maintenance technologies for windfarm inspection and monitoring (including ROV/drone monitoring techniques and data analysis)
  • A review of windfarm developments in China and potential technology challenges which joint research projects could address in terms of deployment and operation

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