The UK-based Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) has launched a tranche of grant funding and business support for UK offshore wind supply chain companies in a package totaling £4.2 million (~$5.94 million).
The package includes a £3.5M ( around $4.95 million) Development Grant Funding Competition for transformative supply chain projects and a £700,000 ( around $990,400) Wind Expert Support Toolkit (WEST) program for needs-focused expert business support.
In what is its largest funding call to date, the OWGP is releasing £3.5 million for Development Grants to be awarded to "high-growth supply chain companies."
Development grants of between £100K and £1 million are available for capital and operational expenditure on projects that will "unlock significant growth potential in UK content, jobs and export opportunities."
This latest call builds on the £2.5M of grant funding already allocated to successful companies in the last 18 months.
According to OWGP, Development Grants are available to UK companies and will be awarded on a competitive basis, with successful proposals demonstrating a long-term business plan and a clear ambition for growth in the sector.
Eligible applicants can request up to £1M in a single grant application to cover up to 50% of the total project budget.
OWGP has said it has to date awarded funding to over 20 offshore wind supply chain projects, including the development of innovative robotic solutions for welding and component assembly, machine learning solutions to enhance wind farm accessibility and O&M decision making, and virtual reality simulation training for offshore wind workers.
As for the Wind Expert Support Toolkit, the 2021 WEST program will offer £700k of needs-focused support to over 60 new and existing offshore wind supply chain companies.
"OWGP is working with an established framework of expert delivery partners to provide bespoke support such as targeted specialist advice, market intelligence, and business planning to accelerate the growth of UK companies in the offshore wind sector," OWGP said.
OWGP is funded by members of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), with a budget of £100m over ten years.
Delivered by ORE Catapult, the program supports the growth of UK businesses looking to capitalize on the opportunities offered by the global offshore wind sector.
Danielle Lane, Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and UK Country Manager for Vattenfall, said: “The offshore wind industry is investing millions of pounds in developing a world-class supply chain so that innovative companies around the country can win contracts for goods and services here and abroad.
"The UK Government has recently published new proposals on offshore wind supply chain plans for the next CfD auction, which are challenging for project developers.
"Key initiatives, such as today’s announcement by the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, will help UK companies to join the growing number of UK firms entering our sector, maximizing the economic benefits of offshore wind for this country”.
According to OWGP, over 750 firms have now registered an interest on the OWGP website.