A new £2million joint UK-China offshore wind research centre has opened today (Thursday 21st March) in Yantai City, the highlight of a week-long trade mission to China for 11 innovative UK companies eager to explore opportunities presented by the world’s fastest growing offshore wind market.
The TUS-ORE Catapult Research Centre (TORC) will act as a leading renewable energy technology research and development centre with unique links into both the UK and China to support the growth of their respective offshore wind industries.
The Centre will develop collaborative research programmes, support market entry and incubation for UK businesses in China, provide commercial support for Chinese offshore wind developers and support the demonstration of new technologies on a 300MW windfarm in the Shandong Province.
ORE Catapult’s Chief Executive, Andrew Jamieson, said “Our new Research Centre, in partnership with TUS, will support UK businesses as they take advantage of a new wave of opportunities to engage with one of the fastest-growing offshore wind markets in the world – and present a fantastic opportunity to develop a supply chain that can compete on a global scale.”
“With more than a decade of experience and expertise in this sector, and global exports expected to be worth £2.6bn a year by 2030 for UK companies, now is the time for innovative companies to act and establish themselves at the heart of the Chinese market.”
China is predicted to become the world’s largest offshore wind market by 2030, with the Chinese Government investing $100bn in wind power projects by 2020 and aiming to install 5GW of offshore wind in the South China Sea, with a further 10GW in planning.
Tus Clean Energy’s Senior Vice president, Charlie Du, said “The TUS-ORE Catapult Research Centre is an important project established under ‘The Belt and Road’ initiative. China’s ocean economy is increasing by 7.2% per year and the province of Shandong’s abundant resources has been enlisted by the State Council as a ‘comprehensive test area for new and old kinetic energy conversion’.
“Following the development of TORC, I believe the government will provide more favourable policies to UK companies seeking to enter China to create real benefit to both sides, furthering the technological cooperation between China and UK and creating significant opportunities and reliable incubation service for UK companies”.
The Innovate UK Global Business Innovation Programme offshore wind mission was set up to provide innovative UK companies with an invaluable opportunity to both engage with potential Chinese technology partners in the sector and gain an insight as to how their technology development programmes can be adapted for the rapidly emerging offshore wind market.
Synaptec, which develops unique photonic sensing systems on optical fibre to minimise network fault disruption, is part of the trade mission. Head of Business Development Saul Matthews commented: “As a small business with big ambitions, we are clear that offshore wind is a global market. Working with ORE Catapult to access the leading developments in the biggest offshore wind market in the world places us in pole position to seize the opportunity to not only grow our company in the UK but to generate significant exports and international development”.
The UK is the global leader in offshore wind power, with more offshore wind farms than any other country in the world. By 2030, it is expected that offshore wind will generate one third of the UK’s total electricity requirements.