A team of researchers from the UK and China is set to collaborate on five new renewable energy projects, in order to progress next generation offshore renewables (ORE).
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) announced the three-year research programme this week, explaining that engineering, environmental sciences and technology would be applied in order to take on the challenges of ORE, which include wave and offshore wind technologies.
The collaboration has been enabled thanks to funding by the UK-Chinese Offshore Renewable Energy scheme. As part of the funding, the programme must seek to maximise both socioeconomic and environmental benefits of these systems. The projects will receive almost £4 million in financial support.
The hope is also that the projects will demonstrate the full potential of these emerging technologies and their ability to provide stable and reliable power to coastal and island populations. Already, offshore wind is well established, but there is plenty of scope to develop more efficient turbines and transmission systems. Offshore wave and tidal energy is still relatively new and ripe for development.
Richard Harrington, the minister for energy and industry, praised the news as a significant move forwards for ORE, explaining that Britain is already a global leader in the field of offshore wind. He spoke of the technology's abilities to create jobs and develop the economy.
He also praised the strategic importance of working with one of the UK's biggest trading partners on green energy projects, with the potential of unlocking valuable opportunities for both nations.
China is working hard to position itself as a renewables leader, seeing the potential for economic, socioeconomic and low carbon gains if it can develop an early position in some of the emerging new technologies in the ORE space.