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A £2 million collaboration between the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the University of Hull will see the launch of an offshore wind Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Centre of Excellence in the Humber region.

The five-year partnership will see a series of research and innovation projects developed to improve the way that offshore wind farms are operated and maintained, building on the region’s energy heritage, location and experience of servicing UK offshore wind farms.

Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s Operational Performance Director, said:

“Operations and maintenance activities make up almost a quarter of the lifetime costs of an offshore wind farm, and provide a huge opportunity for UK companies to supply their products and services. The East Coast, and particularly the Humber Estuary, has extensive experience of servicing offshore wind farms and that experience is invaluable as we look to build expertise and a local supply chain, establishing the region as a real centre of excellence that can service UK offshore wind farms as well exporting to the fast growing international market.”

The Centre will be based at the University of Hull with the University’s researchers working alongside the Catapult’s innovation team. Its first task will be to engage with industry and the supply chain to develop a series of feasibility studies and define a roadmap for O&M research and development.

Dr David Richards, Pro vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise for the University of Hull, added:

“This collaboration between the University and ORE Catapult is a step change for the Energy Estuary and the UK’s offshore wind industry as a whole. The recent dramatic drop in the price of electricity generation from offshore wind, which has halved in two years, has demonstrated that the industry is a core part of the country’s energy mix.  Research and innovation in operations and maintenance is essential to maintaining the UK’s position as a global leader in offshore wind and this new Centre of Excellence will by key to establishing an anchor for the industry as a whole.”

As the Humber continues to grow its reputation as the UK’s Energy Estuary, projects like this will help drive the future development of this key sector.

Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said:

“Research and development is crucial for the Humber to continue to build its long term position in the energy sector and support the UK’s future competitiveness. This new collaboration between the University of Hull and the ORE Catapult is very welcome, and it is excellent news that it will be based here in the Energy Estuary.”