• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £7.5m in collaborative R&D projects to accelerate the development of innovative infrastructure technologies for the offshore wind, wave and tidal stream industries, to help reduce the cost of electricity generation.

  • Programme: Collaborative research and development

  • Award: Up to £7.5m

  • Opens: 02 Dec 2013, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 29 Jan 2014, 12:00

  • Closes: 05 Feb 2014, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Infrastructure for offshore renewables

Competition results

The results of this competition are now available; see the PDF of the winning project proposals.
 

Summary

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £7m in collaborative R&D projects to accelerate the development of innovative infrastructure technologies for the offshore wind, wave and tidal stream industries, to help reduce the cost of electricity generation. The themes for the competition are: 
  • electrical infrastructure, including high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technologies 
  • support structures 
  • sensors and monitoring. 
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will provide up to a further £500k to fund academic partners in projects focused on HVDC technologies. 
 
The aim of this competition is to support innovation that helps to establish and develop supply chains in offshore renewables, and to encourage engagement with companies from outside the offshore renewables sector that have specific applicable expertise. 
 
Proposals must be collaborative and business-led. We expect to fund mainly industrial research projects, in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). 
 
We expect total project costs to range in size from £500k to £2m.
 
This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 2 December 2013. The deadline for expressions of interest is at noon on 5 February 2014
 
A webinar briefing event for potential applicants will be held on 6 December 2013.
 

Background

Offshore renewable energy technologies have the potential to form a major component of the UK's future low-carbon energy generation mix. The UK currently has a world-leading position and excellent wind, wave and tidal resources, giving it the opportunity to build strong offshore renewables industries for domestic and export markets. Combined, the wind, wave and tidal industries could contribute up to £73bn to the UK economy in gross value, by 2050. 
 
Reducing the cost of energy generation is a key challenge for the offshore renewable industries, and opportunities exist across the respective supply chains for innovative and cost-cutting technologies. 
 
Companies developing technologies for the offshore renewables industries encounter a number of barriers to market entry, including the generally high capital investment required to introduce a new technology or product. Due to long lead-times in the offshore renewables industries (it can be several years between start of project development and energy generation), this challenge is exacerbated by the need to make that investment significantly before revenue streams start. In addition to this, competition with established suppliers is high, with risk-averse end-users requiring a product track record before adopting new technologies. This can lead to challenges in accessing finance, with some investors uncertain about the future market potential of promising technologies. 
 
This competition aims to address these barriers, by supporting businesses that are developing their position in the supply chain, by demonstrating innovative technologies, and by encouraging knowledge-sharing with other industries. 
 

Scope

This competition is intended to support business-led projects in the field of offshore renewables infrastructure. We are seeking technologies that help to reduce the cost of offshore wind, wave and tidal stream energy generation. We will support projects that involve novel technologies for wind, wave and tidal stream farm infrastructure, and that fall within one of the three themes outlined below. We welcome projects from companies outside the offshore renewable sector provided they have a clearly demonstrable application in the offshore renewables industries. 
 
In general, all projects will be expected to: 
  • show how, when deployed, they will reduce the cost of energy for the offshore wind, wave or tidal stream industries 
  • be aimed at acquiring knowledge for developing new products and processes, or significantly improving existing products or processes relating to one of the themes identified below have reached a stage of technology development, where their concept or process is proven include demonstration of the technology within a realistic environment for its intended commercial application. 
 
We are looking for projects that cover one or more of the following themes: 
 

Electrical infrastructure 

This theme covers technologies related to offshore electricity collection, power electronics and transmission. As a specific sub-theme of electrical infrastructure, we are interested in projects developing HVDC technologies for the offshore renewables industries. The EPSRC will provide up to £500k to fund academic partners within the HVDC sub-theme. EPSRC funding through this competition is intended to be complementary to a recent Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Programme call, in partnership with National Grid, devoted to HVDC technologies. Full details are available at: www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/calls/2013/Pages/researchproposals.aspx 
 

Support structures 

This theme covers technologies related to fixed and floating structures that provide support for turbines and devices and methods for their fixation to the seabed. 
 

Sensors and monitoring

This theme covers technologies related to resource, environmental and structural measurement and analysis. 
 
Projects can relate to any aspect of the lifecycle of a wind, wave or tidal stream farm within these themes. The lifecycle includes project development, construction, installation and ongoing operation, maintenance and asset management. 
 
Technologies related to wind turbines, wave energy converter devices or tidal energy converter devices, or their subcomponents, as opposed to the balance of plant infrastructure that supports them, are not in scope. 
 

Funding allocation and project details

We have allocated up to £7.5m to fund collaborative R&D projects that address the technical challenges outlined in the scope above, including up to £500k from EPSRC. 
 
Successful project participants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs. The percentage of costs that we meet varies, depending on the type of research being carried out and the type of organisation involved. 
 
For this competition projects must be business-led and collaborative. We are primarily seeking to fund industrial research, with a business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). Projects should range in size from £500k to £2m and last up to three years. We may consider larger projects but applicants should discuss this with us before making their application. 
 

Looking for partners to work on your project? 

Go to _connect to find collaborators and networks. 
 
Each partner in a collaborative R&D project can receive funding towards their project costs – the funding is a percentage of the total eligible project costs and varies, depending on the type of organisation and the type of research. See general guidance on how projects are funded
 
Businesses may include academic partners in their consortia, where research capabilities can contribute to project outcomes. 
 

Application process

This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 2 December 2013
 
Stage 1 – Applicants submit an expression of interest which is assessed. 
 
Stage 2 – We invite selected applicants to submit an application. 
 
All applicants must first register via our website by noon on 29 January 2014. The deadline for expressions of interest is at noon on 5 February 2014
 
The second stage deadline for invited applications is at noon on 27 March 2014
 
Applications are assessed on individual merit by an independent panel of experts. We may apply a portfolio approach across the different renewable industries and competition themes, subject to applications meeting the required quality threshold. 
 
A webinar briefing for potential applicants will be held on 6 December 2013, to highlight the main features of the competition and explain the application process. A second-stage briefing event, for invited applicants, will be held in London on 4 March 2014. Applicants are strongly recommended to attend these events. 
 
Note: All deadlines are at noon. 
 

More information

To apply, you must first register with us through the competition page on the website. Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for applications. 
 
Our sustainability tool, Horizons, is free for you to use in considering the environmental, political and social drivers for your project: http://horizons.innovateuk.org
 
For support in using Horizons, please email Clare Martynski, at: C.Martynski@forumforthefuture.org
 

Key dates

  • Competition opens: 2 December 2013
  • Competition briefing: 6 December 2013
  • Registration deadline: 29 January 2014 noon
  • Expressions of interest deadline: 5 February 2014 noon
  • Stage 2 opens for invited applicants: 24 February 2014 noon
  • Deadline for invited applications: 27 March 2014 noon
 

Publicity

As part of the application process all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive. The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the decision to offer an award has been communicated to applicants by email. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public. 
 
Email pressoffice@tsb.gov.uk with any queries.