£5M investment to maintain UK's status as global leader in offshore renewable energy

£5M investment to maintain UK's status as global leader in offshore renewable energy

A national consortium of universities has been awarded £5million to bring together a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders to champion and maintain the UK's world-leading expertise in offshore renewable energy (ORE).

ORE Supergen is part of a programme of initiatives being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and brings together the related research areas of wave, tidal and offshore wind.

Its aim is to maintain the UK’s leading position in the field and to address any technical, environmental and interdisciplinary challenges which require a coordinated response at national and regional level.

Dr Beth Scott from the University of Aberdeen will be a co-director of the new EPSRC ORE SuperGen Hub, the first to combine world-leading research on wind, wave and tidal renewable industries in one grouping.

Ecologist Dr Scott will work directly with engineers at every stage of the design process from materials to be used, individual device plans, array design, Operations and Management logistics and locational sighting to ensure an environmental sustainable approach to future offshore energy developments.

Dr Scott has extensive experience in multi and inter-disciplinary programmes. Her cross-disciplinary skills and experience have often provided the facilitation needed for engineers and physical oceanographers to work successfully with fish, seabird and marine mammal biologists. She also has a history of translating science into policy in work regarding marine protected area (MPA) networks and marine spatial planning and in collaboration with governance leaders, industry, lawyers, marine planners and social scientists.

Dr Scott commented: “I am absolutely thrilled to have this incredible opportunity to collaborate directly with such a range of extremely talented and dedicated engineering colleagues in helping to design and bring forward a sustainable approach to large scale extraction of renewable energies from our oceans.

“This position brings with it a massive amount of responsibility to help facilitate the research interactions we need now between engineers, industry and ecological and social science communities.”

“Working together with a very wide range of excellent colleagues is how we have gotten to this point of cooperative research and even wider and more connected networks of multi-skilled people is what will make the ORE SuperGen Hub approach a success.”

ORE Supergen will be led by Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth, working alongside academics from The University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Hull, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, University of Strathclyde, and the University of Warwick.

Professor Greaves said: “Offshore renewables is an exciting and rapidly expanding field, and we expect it to play a significant role in providing energy for the UK and globally. The UK is already at the forefront of research in this area, and the ORE Supergen Hub will provide leadership for the scientific community and enable it to continue to build on that expertise. Our advisory board will help ensure we are also meeting the requirements and addressing the challenges being faced by industry.”