One of the wind industry’s most influential global organisations is visiting the North East this week, providing a chance for the region to showcase its internationally recognised contribution to the sector.
The National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth is hosting the delegation from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Wind Committee, who will tour the organisation’s world-class renewable energy testing and demonstration facilities.
Over the course of four days, the committee will also visit some of the North East’s most important and innovative renewable energy companies.
Among those taking part will be Wallsend’s Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of remote intervention equipment, with a proven track record in subsea engineering.
Offshore Group Newcastle Ltd (OGN Group), which works within the offshore oil and gas and renewable energy industries, will also be supporting the visit, along with Invest North East England and NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
Previously a separate organisation, Narec recently merged with the ORE Catapult, established in 2013 by Technology Strategy Board to facilitate the delivery of low-carbon, affordable energy from offshore wind, wave and tidal energy.
The merger has created a unique organisation aimed at accelerating the design, deployment and commercialisation of renewable energy technology innovation, helping to attract overseas investment and to realise the rich opportunities presented by the UK’s offshore renewable energy resources.
On Thursday (May 22), the ORE Catapult is also hosting an Industry Encounter event, giving UK stakeholders, academia and supply chain companies the chance to meet the IEA Wind Executive Committee to discuss cooperative research tasks, and help identify areas for future UK involvement and international R&D cooperation in the wind industry.
The IEA Wind agreement is focused on advancing wind energy development, with 20 member countries aiming to foster research, development and deployment of wind energy systems.
Ignacio Marti, innovation and technical director for the ORE Catapult, said: “As the UK contracting party for the IEA Wind Executive Committee, we have been very much looking forward to welcoming its members to the North East, showcasing the world-class technical facilities and expertise we have, not just here at Narec but throughout the North East, to drive forward the growth of the UK and international renewable energy industries.
“The Industry Encounter event is particularly important as it gives UK renewable energy stakeholders direct access to global initiatives, developments and best practice in the industry.”
Stewart Watkins, Investment Gateway Manager for Invest North East England, said: “North East England is recognised by many of the major industry players as a key strategic location to service the renewable energy industry.
“The visit of the IEA Wind Committee provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of the North East region, and all it has to offer in terms of geography, experience, infrastructure and technical capabilities.
“The North East has the potential to deliver comprehensive, all-encompassing supply chain solutions for the renewables industry.”