RWE’s largest offshore wind farm in construction, Sofia, recently joined other key industry sponsors to take part in Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s technology acceleration programme, which has so far raised £9 million for offshore wind entrepreneurs whose companies have taken on 50 new staff since it began in 2019.
Applications for this year’s Launch Academy are now open and as one of the industry sponsors, RWE is seeking to attract UK companies to respond to three priority challenges within the offshore wind industry that require innovative thinking and solutions.
The three challenges RWE is looking for responses on are:
– Autonomous solutions and the best way to integrate them into wind farm site investigations, construction and operations and maintenance.
– Solutions to measure and reduce ecological impacts of wind farm construction and operations on birds.
– Ideas and innovations in cable monitoring and protection, aiming to secure a reduction in OWF cable failures.
Since Launch Academy began, 20 companies have progressed through the nine-month programme that focuses on accelerating technology within the offshore renewables industry. It is designed to enhance the UK’s offshore wind supply chain, enable greater UK content and support cost reduction through innovation.
Successful companies receive support worth around £25,000, assisting them to grow and develop their technology and business, and commercialise their solutions. It is hoped that the results will enable cross industry learning and shared experiences by participants.
RWE Director of Engineering, Phillipa Slater, commented, “RWE has one of the strongest offshore wind development pipelines in the world, and as such will need to be at the forefront of innovation, ensuring the company goes beyond the conventional and supports the drive for sustainability for itself and the broader offshore wind sector.”
“Through our partnership with ORE Catapult for this year’s Launch Academy we have chosen three specific challenge themes that we see as having a real potential to make a difference while supporting innovation in the UK supply chain and playing a role in the commercialisation of a potential gamechanger.”
Stephen Wyatt, Director of Strategy and Emerging Technologies at ORE Catapult, said:
“It is fantastic to see how much the Launch Academy has grown over the past three years – attracting significant investment and recognition from across the offshore wind industry. I’m delighted to welcome Ørsted, Equinor, BP and RWE as the industry sponsors who will provide great value to all the companies joining this year’s programme. Launch Academy is the only Technology Accelerator dedicated to offshore wind early-stage companies which allows us to provide highly focused support, strong market pull and enthusiastic investors for leading innovators in the UK supply chain.”
RWE is one of the leading players in offshore wind, with Sofia the largest offshore project in its global fleet. The 1.4 gigawatt (GW) project is 100% RWE-owned and represents a total investment of approximately £3billion. Offshore construction is set to begin in 2023. Final project completion is expected by the end of 2026.