East Anglia & Massachusetts Sign Landmark Agreement To Support Offshore Renewables Innovation
Offshore renewable energy was firmly under the international spotlight last week as Energy Ministers from 23 of the world’s leading economies gathered in London to discuss accelerating the transition to clean energy technologies.
The Clean Energy Ministerial was co-chaired by UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey and US Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Alongside the talks, Ed Davey signed a number of bilateral agreements with counterparts from other governments to work in collaboration over the coming years.
In parallel, a landmark agreement was signed between UK based OrbisEnergy, an international hub for the development of offshore renewables based in Lowestoft, and the Association of Cleantech Incubators of New England (ACTION), based in Massachusetts.
The deal will stimulate collaboration between the east coasts of the UK and the US in the development of offshore renewable energy innovation and incubation activity creating a strategic bridge allowing companies ease of access in exploiting new business opportunities.
Commenting on the Ministerial summit, Energy Secretary Edward Davey said “Britain has more wind turbines installed around its shores than any other country in the world and our market is rated year after year as the most attractive market among investors.
“Offshore wind is critical for the UK’s energy future and there is big interest around the world in what we’re doing.”
Judy Terry, Portfolio Holder for the Economy, Skills and Greenest County at Suffolk County Council and Chair of OrbisEnergy said “Few emerging business sectors offer quite as much opportunity as that of offshore renewables, where East Anglia is at the heart of the UK’s offshore wind potential.
“As a specialist innovation and incubation hub, OrbisEnergy supports businesses across the value chain encouraging start-up and growth among technology and high-growth enterprises looking to commercialise products or services from R&D stage through to market-readiness and beyond.
“Our region’s rich history in offshore operations, innovation and technology, with world class credentials in offshore engineering and fabrication gives East Anglia a unique offering. Building relationships with rapidly growing global markets such as the United States is a major step in supporting and incubating innovative companies to access international business opportunities.”
Michael Ryan, President of the ACTIONetwork said “Developing the clean energy sector globally presents massive opportunities for business. This agreement enables the sharing of best practice and expertise and gives us a framework to align our resources to maximize the impact for both countries.
“In time it is hoped that this approach will result in a collaborative UK-US relationship where companies can tap into specialized expertise to support both technological and commercial innovation and ultimately access new contracts in the growing offshore renewables sectors.”
In the US, the Department of Energy have recently announced a $180m funding opportunity for up to four Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects in US waters. Teams of government officials, researchers, and companies in Massachusetts and New England are currently preparing responses to this funding opportunity that are expected to be highly competitive to receive funds. Massachusetts and Rhode Island are also home to where the first two US offshore wind projects are expected to be deployed, the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod and Deepwater Wind project off Block Island.
Patrick Cloney, CEO of MassCEC said “Massachusetts is leading the United States in offshore renewable energy research and development and has a growing cluster of offshore renewable companies locating here. When we travelled with Governor Patrick's Innovation Economy Trade Mission to the United Kingdom, we met OrbisEnergy and immediately realized that we wanted to form a partnership on offshore energy and help bring their innovative virtual incubator model to Massachusetts. As the leading incubator organization in New England, it was obvious that this partnership should start through ACTION.
“We expect that the collaboration between OrbisEnergy and ACTION will expand our cluster and make us more attractive for international offshore renewable companies looking to open an office and enter the US market.”