Friday, August 2, 2013

News: AMRC to help grow UK's offshore wind sector


The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing is to play a part in a long-term strategy that will strengthen the UK's position in the offshore wind industry.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), the AMRC is a world class centre for advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors.

Through the Nuclear AMRC it already provides a focal point for the bulk of the UK civil nuclear manufacturing industry supply chain and now it will provide support as part of GROW: Offshore Wind, a new Manufacturing Advisory Service programme.

As part of the new government strategy announced this week, the new £50m programme has secured £20m from the Regional Growth Fund to improve the UK wind industry's supply chain.

The UK offshore wind market, estimated to be worth more than £100bn over the next 20 years, offers manufacturers a significant, sustained growth opportunity and by working in close collaboration with industry leaders and government, GROW:OffshoreWind offers direct access to market experts, technological know-how and funding support to English companies looking to move into the offshore wind market.

The AMRC will lead on Process Technology Innovation support, providing a new route for companies to access its collaborative R&D capabilities and the large-scale manufacturing and process demonstration facilities at the Nuclear AMRC.

The programme offers up to 50 per cent match funding for manufacturers looking to benefit from Process Technology Innovation support and work on the industry's supply chain is also planned.

Dominic Brown, head of the new Grow:OffshoreWind service, said: "Our role is to make sure the supply chain in England is competitive and benefits from the huge opportunities that will be generated by this significant investment. In Grow:OffshoreWind, we have created a service that will give SMEs direct access to market experts, technological know-how through specialist centres and funding support to aid upfront investment.

"All of this is geared toward giving manufacturers a clearer understanding of the scale of future demand and how they can best benefit from it."

Business Secretary Vince Cable added: "We have more offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined and, if we get it right and strike now, we will also see this new technology creating thousands of jobs here as well.

"The key achievement of the strategy is to develop a strong commitment by the industry to develop a UK supply chain together with ambitious plans to deliver it. I would hope to see something approaching the 70 per cent that we already see in the oil and gas sector of supply chain made in Britain.

"The commitment and partnership that this strategy represents is an important step in giving the industry more confidence to invest here in Britain; build factories, increase capacity at ports, develop skills and carry out high-end research to tackle the problems posed by the unforgiving offshore environment."

AMRC website
GROW: Offshore Wind website

Images: RenewablesUK


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