UK's technology innovation and research center Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has announced ambitious expansion plans in the Humber, including a commitment to open a base of operations in Grimsby and create 50 to 70 jobs in the region in the next 10 years.
The Catapult is already an active member of Aura, a regional partnership of leading industry and academic organisations focused on driving forward the growth of the UK’s offshore wind sector, and collaborates with the University of Hull as part of the Operations & Maintenance Center of Excellence (OMCE) to develop research and innovation projects designed to improve the way that offshore wind farms are operated and maintained.
Ben George, former Director of Aura, has been appointed as the Catapult’s General Manager in the Humber and will lead the organisation’s growth in the region as it looks to build on and strengthen its existing relationships with Aura, and its partners, by expanding both its presence and portfolio of offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) projects.
With a portfolio of 70 O&M projects, the Catapult is aligning its activities with regional and national priorities, supporting the emerging Humber Offshore Wind Cluster and ensuring regional activities have a UK-wide impact.
Chris Hill, Operational Performance Director for ORE Catapult, said: “The Humber, with its energy heritage, location, and extensive experience of servicing offshore wind farms, has quickly established itself as the UK’s centre of excellence in operating and maintaining the existing UK offshore wind fleet."
“The Humber’s O&M cluster includes Ørsted’s expanding East Coast Hub, Innogy’s planned base for Triton Knoll, and suppliers including CWind, James Fisher and Rix Sea Shuttles, and is supported by expertise in the wider Humber area, including Aura and the University of Hull. Therefore, it makes it the ideal location from which the Catapult can continue, and expand, its technology innovation and research activities, working with industry and academia to ensure the UK remains a world-leader in the global offshore wind sector,” Hill added.
O&M activities make up almost a quarter of the lifetime costs of an offshore wind project, but with 75% O&M content coming from the UK supply chain, the UK has a competitive advantage in servicing the offshore fleet, as well as providing a huge opportunity for UK companies to supply their products and services both domestically and exporting them internationally to a fast-growing global market.