09 November 2016
Offshoreenergy.dk, Business Academy Southwest (EASV) and nine partners round the North Sea have secured more than DKK 40 million in subsidies to give sub-contractors in the offshore wind industry easier access to testing and a framework for new cooperative relationships within the European offshore cluster.
Danish sub-contractors in the offshore wind industry will soon have easier access to international test facilities and a stronger framework for international cooperation in the North Sea region.
The offshore wind industry is set to reap the benefits of a research-based network analysis that identifies optimal cooperative relationships. The package is crowned with modules in a new MBA course, which are specifically targeted for offshore wind.
A flotilla of Danish suppliers to the offshore wind industry have every reason to crow about a recent grant of just over DKK 40 million from the European Development Fund, Interreg (and Region of Southern Denmark?) to fund the Inn2Power project.
The project will be anchored at Offshoreenergy.dk and Business Academy Southwest. Before the project application, 18 Danish SMEs announced that they would apply to join if the project went ahead:
"Inn2Power will give SMEs easier access to testing, This could be a crucial opportunity to substantiate how new technical breakthroughs or products will work in practise," says Hans A. Pedersen, Director Renewables, Offshoreenergy.dk.
Relationships to develop complete solutions
Testing is a major hurdle for small and medium-sized enterprises because full-scale testing for the offshore wind industry is costly.
"We have excellent Danish test facilities, whose logistics and infrastructure are tailor-made for the purpose. However, testing remains hugely expensive for SMEs," says Hans A. Pedersen.
"When more players are able to test innovative solutions, the extent to which SMEs will apply research findings is bound to increase," says Lisbeth Brøde Jepsen, PhD and Innovation Developer at Business Academy Southwest.
"The Inn2Power project will help to make innovation very specific and palpable – and we hope this will result in new solutions and products for the wind industry," she says.
Another aspect of Inn2Power that is important for Danish SMEs is the element that seeks to build relationships across the North Sea.
"Different areas of the North Sea region have different positions of strength”, says CEO Glenda Napier, Offshoreenergy.dk:
“They can complement each other if they work together. If members of different clusters can work together, the benefits could well include the development of more systemic solutions of the type that the industry is calling for to supplement the existing component solutions", she says.
Finally, the project will boost the role of SMEs in research. A new MBA qualification will include modules specifically developed for offshore wind. Optimal cooperative relationships can be identified through research:
"The project will apply research methods that make relationships comparable. Using these methods, we can more reliably identify the cooperative relationships which will be most beneficial," says Lisbeth Brøde Jepsen.
"This project has colossal potential. It builds on our strategy, which is to fortify the Danish offshore cluster and add new, innovative and cost-saving solutions to an industry, which is constantly searching for new avenues to explore."
CEO Glenda Napier, Offshoreenergy.dk on the new Inn2Power project.
"We will facilitate inter-regional cooperation between parties who might not otherwise have got together. We expect to see sub-contractors working jointly with other SMEs to create solutions. This will require good, close relationships, which this project will help to create."
Lisbeth Brøde Jepsen, PhD and Innovation Developer at Business Academy Southwest.
Facts about Inn2Power:
EUR 5.6 million (about DKK 42 million) will be provided over a four-year project period to fund better testing facilities, boost cooperation and disseminate applied research to small and medium-sized companies across the the North Sea region.
The project has 11 partners in Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK, some of whom can now expand on cooperation established between them during the ECOWindS project that ran from 2012-2015. Many of the most important discoveries made during that project will become the cornerstones of the new cooperation.
In addition to Offshoreenergy.dk and EASV, the partners are Autonoom Gemeentebedrijf Haven Oostende; Flanders’ Maritime Cluster; POM West-Vlaanderen (Belgium), Hochschule Bremerhaven and WAB e.V (Germany), Kent County Council and Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services Ltd. (UK) and Noordelijke Ontwikkelings Maatschappij and Provincie Groningen (The Netherlands).