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Business & Economy

Energi Coast launches new offshore wind group to fuel innovation

An offshore wind sector organisation has launched a venture to support the industry’s long-term future.

Energi Coast says its Innovation Group will help fuel major advancements across areas such as operations, maintenance and energy storage.

Led by Simon Hogg, Ørsted professor in renewable energy and Department of Engineering head at Durham University, the group was launched last week.

Officials say it is made up of key representatives from the offshore wind sector, regional universities, local enterprise partnerships and industry.

Further support comes from representatives at Dogger Bank Wind Farm developers Equinor and SSE Renewables, and Sofia Offshore Wind Farm developer RWE Renewables.

Bosses say the group also forms part of Energi Coast’s commitment to support the Government’s Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which sets out to drive transformation across UK offshore wind generation.

Professor Hogg said: “The Offshore Wind Sector Deal is a fantastic opportunity for North East England.

“Durham University is delighted to lead the Innovation Group for Energi Coast, which will bring together research and development experts from academia, industry and the local authorities within our region.

“The group will help identify and develop opportunities to deliver innovation that will maximise the economic benefit from offshore wind to North East England over the next decade and beyond 2030.”

The Offshore Renewables Catapult (ORE), which has a base in Blyth, Northumberland, is a member of the group.

Tony Quinn, ORE test facilities director, said: “The North East has a critical role to play in UK offshore wind.

“This group will fuse together our world-leading research, industrial and supply chain expertise to help drive the innovation required to lower the cost of energy, boost the region’s competitiveness and continue to attract inward investment.”

James Ritchie, chair of Energi Coast, added: “North East England has been at the vanguard of innovation for generations, which continues in the offshore wind sector.

“This group will build on the effective collaborative relationships between operators, contractors and the supply chain to create a further focus on the development of innovative technology solutions to drive efficiencies and cost control for offshore wind projects.”