Northumberland's National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) is to merge with Glasgow’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to form a national champion for the development and cost reduction of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy in the UK.
The facility, based at Blyth, will carry on operations as normal and, far from cutting staff, the plan at present is to grow the combined business as the sector continues to expand.
As part of the move, Narec chief executive Andrew Mill will step down to join the board of ORE Catapult as a non-executive director. Day-to-day running of the Blyth facility will be the responsibility of Richard Marr, who will report to the Catapult’s chief executive - and new head of the combined organisation - Andrew Jamieson.
Narec operates world-leading research, development and testing facilities for offshore wind, wave, tidal and electrical network technologies, while the Catapult is one of a network of seven elite technology and innovation centres established by the Technology Strategy Board as part of a £1.4bn investment in the UK’s economic capability.
The merger will accelerate the design, deployment and commercialisation of renewable energy technology, helping attract overseas investment and realise the significant opportunities presented by the UK’s offshore renewable energy resources.
Jamieson said: “Narec and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will together create a world-leading innovation and asset assurance business, serving the entire offshore renewable sector and returning value on Government investment many times over.
“We will play a leading role in ensuring the UK replicates the success of the oil and gas industries, creating many thousands of skilled jobs, contributing billions of pounds to the economy and ensuring that the UK has a major influence on European policy, funding and offshore renewable energy development in the decades to come.”
Mill added: “Integrating Narec’s world-class facilities and expertise with the ORE Catapult will create a unique and growing organisation, ensuring that regionally and nationally the UK is in the best possible position to capture the huge opportunity presented by wind, wave and tidal energy.”
Technology Strategy Board chief executive, Iain Gray said the body would create a “powerful champion for the development of the UK’s offshore renewable energy industries”.