New £6m Score fund unveiled to support oil and gas innovation in the East of England
Creative companies across the East of England will have access to a new £6m funding pot to develop new ideas and technology for the region’s growing offshore renewable energy industry.
The Score scheme – which is more than double the size of the previous £2.5m fund – could help up to 200 businesses and create 100 new jobs, through grants of up to £50,000 for small and medium sized ventures.
The project, backed by cash from the European Regional Development Fund, will be available to those in Norfolk, Suffolk, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Essex, and was unveiled at the SNS2016 offshore energy conference at the Norfolk Showground.
Johnathan Reynolds, business development lead at Lowestoft-based OrbisEnergy, which is managing the grant fund, said East Anglian businesses were involved in nearly every offshore wind project in the world.
“There is world-leading expertise and technology here in the East. It is shaping the future of the industry, and our aim is that our Score grants will help local companies be part of that, bringing fresh ideas and new technologies which can further reduce the cost of developing offshore wind and ensure the longer-term role that this vital industry will play in securing our future energy needs,” he added.
The previous SCORE fund invested in 40 innovative projects, supporting more than 50 companies and created new 70 jobs.
One of those was Great Yarmouth-based GEV Wind Power which developed a way to weatherproof turbine blade maintenance.
A £50,000 Score grant helped the company recruit a project director to develop a prototype.
The structure is a sealed inflatable sleeve which enables work to be done on blades in all weathers and at any time - adapting oil and gas technology and reducing lost power generation time.
A £40,000 grant also helped Lowestoft-based Scour Prevention Systems to fine-tune its mats made of recycled tyres, which protect offshore wind turbines, cables and bridge piers from the scouring effects of the tide.
The Score team is a partnership of enterprise specialists Nwes, advisory firm Nautilus Associates and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult centre.
Apply at www.orbisenergy.co.uk
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