Johnathan Reynolds, of OrbisEnergy, says SCORE will unleash great new ideas (photo: OrbisEnergy)
A GBP 6 million grant fund has been launched to help more than 200 companies unlock innovations in offshore renewable energy.
The SCORE programme, being delivered by the OrbisEnergy innovation and incubation centre in Lowestoft, Suffolk, provides grants of up to GBP 50,000 to support companies developing new technologies. Funding is available to small and medium sized businesses in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk.
SCORE programme managers are particularly interested to hear from oil & gas companies looking to diversify into offshore renewables.
Johnathan Reynolds, of OrbisEnergy, says, “This is more than double the amount of money in the previous SCORE programme, which supported over 50 companies, invested in 40 projects and created 70 new jobs. This time we’re confident we can help over 200 businesses to develop their bright ideas, and in the process create 100 additional jobs for the region.”
“With some of the biggest wind farms in the world being built off the east coast, our region has firmly established itself as the UK’s principal hub for offshore renewable energy, with an experienced and highly inventive supply chain. The SCORE programme will help to unleash great new ideas to lower costs and increase efficiency in technologies behind offshore wind, wave, tidal and other marine sectors. We welcome ideas from oil and gas companies looking at diversifying into offshore wind and developing innovations to reduce costs in the growing sector,” adds Reynolds.
The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is open to companies with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than 50 million euros. Grants are available for up to 40% of eligible costs or GBP 50,000, whichever is the lower, with a minimum grant of GBP 2,500. Start-up and established companies in the four counties can apply.
The funding is designed to help companies in a wide range of areas, including research and development, collaboration with universities and research bodies, securing patents, acquiring specialist equipment or services and investigating the commercial viability of processes and technologies.
Reynolds says several companies had already shown an interest in the SCORE programme and he was expecting a large number of enquiries now that it had been officially launched.
The current programme is delivered by OrbisEnergy in partnership with enterprise specialists Nwes, energy industry experts Nautilus Associates and the national Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult centre.