OrbisEnergy Spotlights Oil & Gas Businesses Diversifying into Offshore Wind

After the launch of a GBP 6 million grant fund in July, OrbisEnergy today emphasised the opportunity for oil and gas businesses to use the fund to diversify into the renewables industry amidst the downturn in their main playing field, through adapting their ideas to offshore wind, wave and tidal power.

“We know we have some amazingly talented people and businesses with rich expertise across our oil & gas supply chain in the east. We’re now looking to support those firms with good ideas, technologies and solutions, which can be diversified into offshore renewables,” said Johnathan Reynolds of OrbisEnergy.

Small-to-medium sized companies, which must have a base in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk, will be able to secure grants of up to £50,000 to support their innovations for offshore wind and other marine renewable sectors.

Successful applicants will also have access to some of the UK’s leading figures driving innovation and developing renewables technology, and access to world-class test and demonstration facilities and laboratories through the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult), OrbisEnergy said.

Innovation was not just about technology, Reynolds said. “Supply chain areas, such as operations and maintenance and asset integrity management, are where we see some of the bigger prizes for the East in the longer term. We are looking for innovations especially in this area,” Reynolds said.

The latest fund through the SCORE programme aims to help more than 200 businesses and create 200 additional jobs for the region. 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 £50,000, whichever is the lower, with a minimum grant of £2,500. Start-up and established companies in the four counties can apply.

Lately, the offshore energy industry has been focusing more on the diversification of oil and gas businesses into the offshore renewables sector. Last month, Subsea UK called on companies to expand into the renewables sector to sustain long-term growth. Also, in May, Scottish Enterprise launched a ‘Seize the Opportunity’ guide for oil and gas companies, to help guide them through the steps required to break into the offshore wind industry, highlighting the entry routes, most promising regions and the opportunities most accessible to the UK supply chain.

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