Glasgow ‘catapults’ to the front in energy

A £50 MILLION project to accelerate the development of offshore renewable energy is to be based in Glasgow.

The centre will focus on technologies for offshore wind, wave and tidal power and aims to bridge the gap between university research and full commercialisation.

The UK government yesterday confirmed a bid from a consortium made up of Ocean Energy Innovation (OEI), Carbon Trust and the National Renewable Energy Centre (NREC) had been chosen to set up the Offshore Renewable Energy “Catapult”.

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OEI is made up of energy companies SSE and ScottishPower Renewables along with organisations including Scottish Enterprise, the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney, trade body Scottish Renewables and Strathclyde University.

The catapult – which will also have an operational facility in Northumberland, close to NREC’s base – will receive up to £10m a year over five years from the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, who was in Glasgow to make the announcement yesterday, said: “Our offshore renewable sector can compete on a global scale and has huge potential for growth. If we can harness that we will generate billions of pounds for the economy whilst creating thousands of job opportunities at the same time.”

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, which worked with OEI on the bid, said the news had come at a “critical time in the evolution of this exciting new industry”.

The UK government has already announced plans for catapult centres for high-value manufacturing and cell therapy.