Waveney MP Peter Aldous, speaking in the House of Commons, called on the Business Secretary to back the bid for a Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) for offshore renewables - which would bring together a network of key hubs across the country including OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft.
Few emerging business sectors offer quite as much exciting potential for as that of offshore wind power, where East Anglia is at the heart of the UK’s offshore wind potential.
Peter Aldous said:
"We know that offshore renewables is a key growth sector for the economy and we are committed to ensuring companies across East Anglia benefit from this huge opportunity.
"Not only can offshore renewable energy generate significant amounts of electricity, it can support a new generation of engineering skills creating long term jobs which will be key to sustainable growth."
Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced the start of a competition to form an Offshore Renewable Energy technology and innovation centre to focus on technologies for offshore wind, wave and tidal power.
The Government has committed more than £200 million over the next four years to establish an elite network of at least six technology and innovation centres. The centres allow businesses to access equipment and expertise to help them commercialise new and emerging technology.
A great example of how a such a technology innovation centre could work in East Anglia, is OrbisEnergy, the innovation and incubation centre for offshore renewables based at Ness Point, Lowestoft.
Johnathan Reynolds, of OrbisEnergy, which is owned by Suffolk County Council, and managed by NWES, said:
“The development of a technology and innovation centre for offshore renewables is a real opportunity for East Anglia. OrbisEnergy already has many of the component parts of the proposed TIC model and we will be working hard to try and secure this investment in the region.”
“We are already positioning OrbisEnergy and East Anglia as key drivers for such a centre building on the area’s rich history in offshore operations, innovation and technology, coupled with world class credentials in automotive design, engineering and manufacturing which give East Anglia a unique offering.”
During a recent visit to OrbisEnergy, Charles Hendry the Energy Minister said: “East Anglia is one of the most exciting places in the country for energy and is doing some of the most important, inspiring work in renewables.
“What is especially exciting is that OrbisEnergy brings together people with ideas and enthusiasm and helps them get established. This is exactly the sort of groundbreaking work we need, bringing all the links in the chain together."
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “The Government’s continued investment in technology and innovation centres ensure the UK stays at the forefront of global innovation and technology.
“It is vital we invest in renewable energy now to gain maximum benefits in the future. There is huge potential for growth in the sector, and the prospect to generate billions of pounds for the economy whilst creating thousands of job opportunities at the same time.”
Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board Iain Gray said:
“These centres will be a vital part of the UK’s innovation landscape and enable world leading businesses to emerge in these areas.”
Vince Cable said:
“The Government is committed to increasing investment in clean technologies to support innovation and growth. This funding provides the support to allow private sector industries to grow and for them to become more energy efficient. Transforming the UK into a low carbon economy is a great challenge, but one that we are taking seriously with investments such as this.”
Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): Will the Secretary of State confirm that he will consider the proposal for the technology and innovation centre for offshore renewables that brings together a network of key hubs across the country, such as OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft in my constituency, so as to ensure that the whole of the UK benefits from the proposed TIC?
Vince Cable: We will certainly consider the proposal, but, as my hon. Friend knows, there is a proper process for evaluating different bids. The third TIC will centre on renewables, substantially on wind, and existing centres, such as the one in his constituency, are eligible and may well be considered.
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