OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft marks fifth anniversary with £2.5m innovation funding programme

Orbis Energy

Orbis Energy - Credit: Archant

A flagship centre for offshore renewables is celebrating five years of supporting business and supply chain growth.

The OrbisEnergy innovation and incubation centre in Lowestoft is marking the anniversary in style – by launching a new £2.5million supply chain innovation funding programme.

This programme will support small to medium size businesses in developing new and innovative systems and technologies – with grants up to £50,000 to drive real growth in the offshore renewable energy supply chain.

With some of the world's biggest windfarms being built off the East of England, there are increasing opportunities for businesses using the specially designed innovation centre.

The OrbisEnergy centre, owned by Suffolk County Council and managed by enterprise specialists NWES, has supported more than 120 tenant companies with a growing number graduating into their own purpose built facilities, creating space for new start-ups and entrepreneurs to follow in their footsteps. Over the five years tenants have created more than 130 new jobs.

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John Balch, strategic director for OrbisEnergy and NWES, said: 'In the last five years we've seen it all. We've got award-winning tenant companies developing new and innovative technologies; new multi-tenant joint ventures; mergers and acquisitions within the building; and companies who have secured significant multi-million investment to support rapid growth.

'We've immensely proud of the success of our tenant companies, many of whom are leading the offshore renewable sector's development here and abroad.'

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OrbisEnergy also houses offices for major international companies – such as SSE and East Anglia Offshore Wind – which use the centre to ensure they are at the heart of the offshore wind power sector and supply chain.

Through the £1.6billion development of the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, the second largest wind farm in the world, SSE and its partners RWE have invested in Lowestoft for the long term by building its operations base at the former Waveney fish docks.

Johnathan Reynolds, OrbisEnergy business development lead, said: 'The centre plays a vital part in the rapidly developing offshore renewables sector and we also have a key role in forging closer links between major offshore companies and the local supply chain.'

He said they could offer tenants professional business support, conference facilities and daily 'networking' - all within 'an inspirational' building.

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