Chris Huhne yesterday unveiled the first round of grants since the Budget for developing next-generation offshore wind technology, including £2m for Hartlepool’s JDR Cable Systems.
The energy secretary revealed the £10m package of grants at the launch of the International Energy Agency’s Energy Technology Perspective report.
Five million pounds worth of cash will go to seven UK companies, with another £5m grant going to Siemens Windpower.Siemens will use the money to develop a next-generation 6MW offshore turbine with an integrated foundation design in the UK.
Mr Huhne said: “Offshore wind will be very significant in the energy mix as we move to low carbon, sustainable energy supplies. The UK has a wealth of natural resource and coastlines for offshore wind. We are already world leaders in building offshore wind but we must do much, much more.
“These investments can help our own businesses reap the benefits of renewable energy and help lower costs to consumers. That’s why it’s important that we support UK supply chain companies even in these tough economic times with grants to help them develop technologies to fit the emerging market.”
The successful UK companies are:
JDR Cable Systems of Hartlepool: £2m for high voltage export and array cables for distribution of power from next generation, multi-megawatt turbines;
Converteam from Rugby: £1m for large scale DC conversion technology;
Edinburgh’s nGentec: £800,000 to develop and demonstrate a new innovative 6MW generator;
The Isle of Wight’s Blade Dynamics; £400,000 to develop and demonstrate use of modular blade assembly;
South Boats Special Projects, also based on the Isle of Wight; £300,000 for the modular design of offshore wind farm support vessels;
Cooper Rolling Bearings of Kings Lynn, Norfolk: £256,250 to develop and demonstrate the use of split bearing technology in large scale wind applications;
And Sheffield’s MTL Group: £250,000 to develop mass manufacturing techniques for jacket and monopile sub-assemblies;
A spokesperson for JDR cable systems said: “We are delighted to be awarded this grant which will enable JDR to provide high voltage export cables for the rapidly growing offshore wind energy market, particularly for UK Round 3 projects.
“This £2m grant will contribute to an overall investment of £11m which will provide the necessary equipment to extend JDR’s manufacture of subsea cables from medium voltage to high voltage. These cables will be manufactured at JDR’s deepwater quayside factory in Hartlepool and will weigh up to 4000 tonnes.
“Such export cables have been identified as a bottleneck in the supply chain and with this investment JDR will become the only UK manufacturer of this vital connection.”