Scottish SMEs have an ‘enormous opportunity’ to develop wind farm technology and exploit global markets thanks to a new programme giving access to the country’s leading researchers and testing facilities.
The Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) is an alliance of 12 Scottish universities offering world-class capability and resources in energy technology development. Scottish SMEs and SMEs interested in establishing a base in Scotland can access a pool of around 250 academics and 700 researchers to explore market opportunities and technology ideas.
The fund also offers the opportunity to access £250million of University research facilities for testing prototype technologies – providing the spark needed to get new ideas to the marketplace. Up to £20,000 in funding is available to cover the cost of this stage of the process.
The ETP is working in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to identify and work with Scottish companies that can benefit from the support.
ORE Catapult’s Andrew Tipping believes the opportunity could extend the country’s leading position in wind and help nurture a new wave of suppliers and developers into the growing international sector.
“Scotland is already a market leader in renewable energy, but there remains huge potential to develop and grow the supply chain for wind energy in particular,” he said.
“Scotland has one of the world’s largest wind resources and unsurprisingly is a focus for developers looking to harness that potential, particularly in the offshore environment.
“To say that the ETP provides an enormous opportunity for SMEs would almost be an understatement. They can explore the market opportunity for you and sense-check your technology idea without financial risk.
“And once you’ve got past this point, the ETP will even help fund prototyping and testing at some of the most advanced facilities in the world, right here in Scotland. It is an excellent opportunity and I’m looking forward to helping SMEs across Scotland gain access to this fantastic market.”
Andrew, ORE Catapult’s Commercialisation Manager, added:
“We have to consider the international marketplace too. Wind energy is accelerating rapidly across the globe and we are seeing huge developments in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, France and China. All these new wind farms need new and novel solutions to help reduce the cost and all will need a steady supply of parts and expertise for years to come.
“This gives Scottish companies an ideal platform from which to become the first port of call for these services and provides a viable and achievable opportunity to further develop Scotland’s renewables industry.”
The Energy Technology Partnership spans technologies such as wind energy, biomass, solar and marine energy, and can provide funding of up to 70% for some activities.
Meanwhile ORE Catapult, set up by Innovate UK in 2013, is the UK’s flagship technology innovation and research centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy. It helps to reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy, supporting the growth of the industry and creating UK benefit.
Brian Cross, ETP’s Project Manager said:
“This is an excellent opportunity for Scottish SMEs to work with Scotland’s leading academics on feasibility studies, product development and evaluation starting with a single call or email to ETP.”
Philip Taylor is Business Development Director of Limpet Technology, which provides remote inspection vehicles for wind turbines. He said: “The ETP Knowledge Exchange Network provided us with access to information from Strathclyde University’s Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering department.
“This has been crucial in developing our understanding of wave and vessel motion and in our ability to develop our next generation offshore personnel transfer system in line with these parameters.”