£3.5m North of Tyne Programme Seeks Offshore Innovators

A new £3.5m offshore innovation programme has been launched today (20th October), primarily targeting supply chain companies located in the North of Tyne area with opportunities to fund and support technology innovation in the offshore wind and subsea sectors.

The Technology, Innovation and Green Growth for Offshore Renewables (TIGGOR) programme is being funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) as part of its wider Energy, Green Growth and Climate Change commitments. NTCA has partnered with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, who will deliver the programme on their behalf.

ORE Catapult will, in turn, partner with the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), who will part-fund and deliver a key strand of the programme. The initiative has received major industry backing from Equinor, joint venture partner and future operator of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, the world’s largest offshore wind farm that will have its onshore base at Port of Tyne, and EDF Renewables, which owns and operates the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator wind farm.

Businesses joining the programme will be able to access either competitive technology demonstration funding support or business growth support, depending on their needs. The technology demonstration support will be led by ORE Catapult, alongside Equinor and EDF Renewables, to provide technology assessment, advice and potential funding in areas such as robotics and autonomous systems, digital twins and next generation technologies for improved operations and maintenance.

Support for supply chain business growth will be delivered by OWGP, with input from the North East LEP’s Growth Hub, for businesses both in the North of Tyne area and also across the North East region. This will provide specialist innovation advice, market intelligence and business planning for organisations operating in the offshore energy sectors and those looking to enter the market. Access to other supply chain programmes currently run by ORE Catapult will also be incorporated, including Fit 4 Offshore Renewables and Launch Academy.

Companies that would like to participate in the programme are being asked to register their interest: ore.catapult.org.uk/TIGGOR.

Jamie Driscoll, Mayor for the North of Tyne, said: “The energy sector is a major strength in the North of Tyne. This offshore innovation programme will create jobs and tackle the climate emergency and it provides a game-changing opportunity for our local companies. We will build on our world class assets to establish the North of Tyne as a world leader in clean energy”

Sophie Banham, Digitalisation Manager for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, said: “The sheer size of Dogger Bank means it will be a really data-rich project, and so we’re excited that it has the potential to be a flagship project for digitalisation in offshore wind. There is a huge amount of value to be uncovered through innovation and new technology, and so plenty of opportunities for forward-thinking companies to get involved. We really want local businesses based in the North East to reap the benefits from having this landmark project on their doorstep, and are delighted to be part of this programme that will enable just that, at a time when job creation and business growth is needed more than ever.”

Andrew Clark, Energy Lead at the North East LEP, said: “The offshore wind sector offers huge potential for the North East in terms of job creation and business growth. This new fund, which we are able to support with our Energy for Growth funding, will not only give businesses the support they need to explore new technology and grow their business but will help new companies enter the offshore market, creating more and better jobs for our region.”

James Battensby, Head of Research Business Development at ORE Catapult, said: “The offshore wind sector represents a huge supply chain opportunity for the North of Tyne region with the UK estimated market valued in excess of £40billion by 2030. New innovation within the supply chain will be critical to achieving more UK content and supporting our green growth recovery in response to Covid-19. This regional programme will accelerate new products and services to market to support future export growth and addressing the windfarm technology challenges of tomorrow”

Andy Macdonald, Programme Manager, OWGP said: “This programme combines ORE Catapult’s innovation support and OWGP’s supply chain growth support to create a focused regional programme for high growth companies in the North of Tyne area.”

Notes to editors

About ORE Catapult

ORE Catapult was established in 2013 by the UK Government and is one of a network of Catapults set up by Innovate UK in high growth industries. It is the UK’s leading innovation centre for offshore renewable energy. Independent and trusted, with a unique combination of world-leading test and demonstration facilities and engineering and research expertise, ORE Catapult convenes the sector and delivers applied research, accelerating technology development, reducing risk and cost and enhancing UK-wide economic growth. Headquartered in Glasgow, it operates the National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland and the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine in Fife.


For further information: Lee Madigan, Head of Communications, lee.madigan@ore.catapult.org.uk, +44 (0)7889 806490


Equinor has been operating in the UK for over 35 years. Headquartered in Norway, the company employs 22,000 people globally, and over 650 in the UK. As a broad energy company, Equinor is committed to long term value creation in a low carbon future, and targeting carbon neutral operations globally by 2030.

Equinor is the UK’s leading energy provider and supports the UK economy by investing billions in crucial energy infrastructure, working with over 700 suppliers across the country. Its energy supplies from Norway meet more than one quarter of the UK’s demand for natural gas and around one fifth of its demand for oil, both produced with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the industry. It operates the Mariner oil field, one of the largest and most digitally advanced offshore investments in the UK over the last decade, and is progressing Rosebank, the largest undeveloped field in the UK.

Equinor also operates two offshore wind farms off the East Coast of England, Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal. It is a pioneer in floating wind technology with Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating wind farm off the coast of Peterhead, which is partnered with Batwind, the world’s first battery for offshore wind. And with its partner SSE Renewables, Equinor is building the largest offshore wind farm in the world, Dogger Bank, off the North East coast of England. It is also a leader in both carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen, and is developing a number of projects in Europe, including in the Humber and Teesside regions of North East England.

About EDF Renewables

EDF Renewables UK and Ireland is a joint venture between two companies, EDF Energy (EDF’s UK business) and EDF Renewables Group (EDF’s global renewables business). EDF Renewables Group has more than 25 years’ worth of experience in delivering renewable energy projects in more than 20 countries around the world. EDF Renewables UK and Ireland has an operating portfolio of 36 wind farms and one of the UK’s largest battery storage units (together totalling almost 1GW) and we are providing some of the much needed new affordable, low carbon electricity across all technologies. We have an expanding renewables portfolio with almost 4GW of projects in planning and development across wind, battery and solar and we have 600MW currently under construction. We also have offices in Edinburgh, Durham, London and Dublin.

About the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a public, private, and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authority areas. The £270.4m Local Growth Fund, secured as part of the North East Growth Deal, supports the North East LEP’s delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to create 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

 About the Local Growth Fund:

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders. Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.

About OWGP

The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) is a long-term business transformation programme that has been established as part of the UK Offshore Wind Sector Deal.  It is funded by members if the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) and delivered by ORE Catapult.  Over the next ten years delivery will focus on direct support to supply chain companies through a combination of business transformation services and grant funding.  https://owgp.org.uk

About the North of Tyne Combined Authority

The North of Tyne Combined Authority is a partnership of three local authorities: Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland and a directly-elected Metro Mayor.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority has set out an ambitious Energy, Green Growth, and Climate Change blueprint which:

  • Brings forward tangible investments that create jobs and growth through actively decarbonising our economy.
  • Unlocks the potential for accelerated growth in our clean energy sector – building on already world-class assets in offshore wind, subsea technology and the associated supply chain as part of a North East-wide sector strategy.
  • Creates the conditions for radical innovation across North of Tyne industries and public services – supporting collaborative, market-led interventions that create new jobs and demonstrates bold ambition around carbon reduction.
  • Grows our capacity as an area to build the skills base to support new jobs and transition to cleaner ways of working – through an ambitious green growth skills partnership that draws on the best innovation from other places.

The offshore wind sector provides a game-changing economic opportunity for the area and given the scale of opportunity, NTCA has agreed a headline investment of £25 million up to 2028 for the Offshore and Subsea Innovation & Infrastructure programme.


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