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Energy catapult finds a home in Scotland

The government’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will be based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, business secretary Vince Cable has announced.

Strathclyde is quickly becoming a UK hub for energy research, already building its own Technology Innovation Centre, launched last year.

Announcing the catapult on 9 February, Cable said the centre would also work alongside an operational centre close to the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Northumberland.

The full consortium includes the Carbon Trust and Ocean Energy innovation, an industry-led group that includes Scottish and Southern Electricity and Scottish Power Renewables.

The centre will work across offshore wind, wave and tidal power technologies, which are all at different stages of development. It aims to bridge the gap between university research and full commercialisation, says the Technology Strategy Board, which is overseeing the catapults.

The centre is set to open in June and will receive around £50 million in government funding, delivered over the next five years. Contributions are also expected from industry and other external funders.

According to the TSB, the catapult may also advise the UK government on its renewable energy policies.

Strathclyde’s under-construction Technology Innovation Centre, confusingly also the former name for catapults, is expected to house 850 scientists and engineers when it opens in 2014.

Its funding comes from a £57m loan from the European Investment Bank, £15m from the Scottish Funding Council and £11m from the government’s Scottish Enterprise fund. Industry partners include Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower and the Weir Group.

Both centres will sit within the International Technology & Renewable Energy Zone, which aims to give economic benefits to innovative businesses working in the area, within this field.

Scotland’s energy minister, Fergus Ewing, said the move was recognition of Scotland’s “leading position in the development of offshore renewables technology”.

Catapults already announced include centres in high value manufacturing, cell therapy, satellite applications and digital economy. Two more announcements are expected in the coming weeks.