A new renewable energy innovation centre is set to be developed close to the Humber Bridge after £4m in funding was awarded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The funding will be used to build the Aura Innovation Centre (AIC), as well as provide a programme of innovation support for Humber-based SMEs in the offshore wind and low carbon sectors.
The centre, which will be built at Bridgehead near the Humber Bridge, has also been supported by a further £2.5m from Green Port Hull and £5.5m match funding from the University of Hull.
The AIC was launched at the Offshore Wind Connections (OWC) conference and exhibition, held in Hull on 25 and 26 April.
Speaking at the conference, Ben George, recently appointed Director of Aura, said: “It is often SMEs who are prepared to innovate, think and operate differently. The Aura Innovation Centre, which we are launching today at OWC, is all about encouraging that innovative thinking. It’s about fostering a place where collaboration can happen easily to kick-start the low-carbon energy supply chain here in the Energy Estuary.
“By bringing together all the different players to develop a robust and sustainable network, we will ensure that the UK continues to lead the way in offshore wind, regionally, nationally and globally.
“The substantial funding that we now have in place to build the Aura Innovation Centre here in the Energy Estuary is the culmination of a vision that the original Aura Partners (the University of Hull, GreenPortHull, the Humber LEP, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Ørsted) had two years ago – which was to see the Energy Estuary as The Hub for offshore wind and low carbon innovation.”
Dr David Richards, pro vice chancellor, research and enterprise at the University of Hull, added: “I am delighted to see that this vision is becoming a reality.
“We still have a lot to do but this is certainly the right time – this major win for the region comes just as a sector deal for offshore wind is being negotiated with the government. Part of the industry’s vision is to create clusters, much like the activity here in this region, which will bring growth not only to the sector but to other industries.”
Insider is media partner for the Offshore Wind Connections event.