New North Sea Offshore Wind Innovation Consortium launched at Europe’s largest ever industry event

A European consortium has launched a new four-year project, ‘Inn2POWER’ – Innovation to Push Offshore Wind Energy Regions – inviting offshore wind companies and supply chains to explore new and innovative collaborations across the North Sea Region.

The offshore wind industry is an important driver for economic development across Europe and the North Sea Region but is challenged by the need for further cost reductions, continuous innovation and improved acceptance of the industry.

Inn2POWER brings together the leading offshore wind clusters across Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK (East of England and South East). The project, co-funded by the European Union, will focus on strengthening the relationship between these five important offshore wind clusters; stimulating SME-based collaboration to drive innovation; and facilitating access to test and demonstration facilities to support the development of new technologies.

In order to secure growth in the sector, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) need to play a key role in tackling those challenges. SMEs represent a high percentage of the industry and can be highly innovative, offering unique capabilities based on their specialised skills, drive and flexibility.

The aim of Inn2POWER is to expand the capacity for innovation and to improve access to the offshore wind industry for SMEs. The project will provide specific support for SMEs in developing transnational innovative business cases and forming innovation collaborations.

Moreover, it will move to improve access to relevant infrastructure, including test and demonstration facilities and to increase the availability of skilled workers for the North Sea Region offshore wind clusters.

Ann Kempeneers, the Inn2POWER Project Manager from POM West-Vlaanderen said “Inn2POWER is the first project to get that the NSR regional clusters and other supporting organisations in the offshore wind industry will work closely together on the shared goal of bringing their SMEs across the borders to engage them in innovative business collaborations.”

Glenda Napier, CEO of Inn2POWER partner, welcomes an increased cooperation between leading offshore North Sea countries: “We should consider the North Sea as a potential Silicon Valley for the offshore industry in Europe. The SMEs can complement each other by working together, and the regional clusters can work together.”

“The benefits from a strong North Sea regional cooperation could well include the development of more systemic solutions of the type that the industry is calling for to supplement the existing component solutions”, she says.

Andreas Wellbrock, Managing Director of Inn2POWER partner WAB e.V. commented “We want to encourage German companies to enter more readily into cooperation with partners in the North Sea region. This can add to regional strengths and stimulate new systematic innovations that make the offshore wind industry competitive.”

“We are looking forward to intensifying our support for offshore wind SMEs, which face far more difficult conditions for gaining a foothold and staying in business in Europe’s very dynamic market than larger companies do,” he added.

Johnathan Reynolds, Director of UK partner Nautilus Associates Ltd said “We are delighted to be launching the Inn2POWER project at Europe’s largest offshore wind event, hosted in London. This exciting new project brings together the leading offshore wind clusters around the North Sea and we will help to strengthen the case to develop new supply chain partnerships, joint-ventures, or collaborative projects.”

The four-year EU Interreg project Inn2POWER is officially launched during the London Offshore Wind Energy 2017.

Inn2POWER is an initiative of eleven partners from the five leading offshore wind clusters of the North Sea Region. The four-year project will conclude in October 2020. It is supported by the European Union with funding from the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of the Interreg North Sea Region Programme.