To Benefit from EU Funds - 05/10/2012

The Alliance for Offshore Renewables

Niels Tudor-Vinther, research consultant, Alliance for Offshore Renewable Energy, Denmark

Offshore renewable energy is a sector with huge growth potential which economies all over Europe will benefit greatly from in the coming years. The EU has recognised this potential and is offering large funding opportunities for corporations and organisations that have an interest in taking this area to the next level.

The Alliance for Offshore Renewables is a Danish national organisation funded by the Region of South Denmark. It is based upon 21 member organisations whose interests are represented both at national and European level. Although Danish enterprises are amongst the leading actors within the field of offshore renewables, they can still benefit a great deal from participating in co-operation projects at the European level. The purpose of the Alliance is to help Danish enterprises make use of the opportunities that the EU offers, including funding, networks, contacts and experiences.

With offices in South Denmark and Brussels, the Alliance is close to political decisions of importance to our members. By lobbying for increasing EU funds to support the offshore sector throughout Europe the Alliance aims at helping Danish research institutes and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) constructing consortiums across EU borders and applying for EU grants. All for the benefit of the offshore sector.

One of the fundamental tasks of the Alliance is to network with potential European partners for the benefit of the offshore sector. Therefore, a great deal of our time is spent at offshore renewable conferences throughout Europe where we interact with European research institutions and SMEs in order to identify interesting offshore projects in need of more partners and Danish know-how to create a consortium. This activity has resulted in a database currently consisting of more than a thousand European contacts.
In other words, readers of this magazine can benefit from the work of the Alliance by contacting us if you are in need of Danish expertise on one of your projects. Through the still expanding database we can almost always find the right partners for a publicly funded offshore project.

Another important task of the Alliance is to stay informed about current developments in the EU funding schemes of importance to the offshore renewables industry. Every year funding schemes in the EU are open to applications, but there are lots of different schemes with lots of different purposes and it is our job to identify which funding schemes are of relevance to our client’s projects and to help them build the strongest consortium so that they have the best preconditions to being assigned a grant.
Besides the advantages of getting financial support for your project, EU funding also has the benefit of providing you with a valuable European network as well as the opportunity to co-operate with some of the leading actors within the offshore sector.

FP7

We specialise in helping SMEs that have an innovative approach towards offshore wind technology and ocean energy. Both areas have a great potential that, if used properly, will result in both economic growth and increased employment. The Alliance was created as a means to enhance this process by helping the Danish offshore industry receive EU grants, particularly from FP7 (the EU’s 7th Framework Programme supporting research and innovation). Within this programme it is possible to apply for funding within already specified research areas, meaning that if your company has an idea that is consistent with an EU specified research topic, the Alliance can help you gather the best European team. The precondition for our help is that Danish partners are involved. SMEs also have the opportunity to apply for funding for their own ideas. The objective of this SME programme under FP7 is increasing the possibilities for SMEs to incorporate the valuable knowledge of research institutions into their innovative projects. The EU aims to increase co-operation between research institutions and corporations, which is done by offering funding for the majority of the costs related to research.

The Potential of Offshore Energy

Although the offshore wind sector is already an established industry, there is still a long way to go for ocean energy which has only just scratched the surface. Nonetheless, the Alliance sees a huge potential in the sector. The Alliance believes that ocean energy will have its commercial breakthrough in 2020 and that it is within this sector that we will experience a large demand for labour, especially engineers and other technical specialists in the years beyond 2020. However, the industry will not get there on its own. Trans-European political commitment and large national investments are needed for the industry to rise to its potential. Investments should be directed toward education as well as toward research, innovation and demonstration.
European countries might look towards Great Britain when seeking to expand their ocean energy sector. Great Britain is now the leading actor when it comes to ocean energy and countries throughout Europe could benefit a great deal by getting a British corporation or research institution to join a consortium for EU grants. It is the Alliance’s conviction that European corporations should be better at collaborating across borders to raise the overall European standard within the field of green offshore energy.

Chairman of the Board in the Alliance for Offshore Renewables and former Danish Prime Minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen shares his thoughts on the need for investments in offshore energy: “Offshore renewable energy is an industry with a huge potential for creating new green jobs. Governments must seize the opportunity and invest further in innovation and development of new technology which can create future growth.”

Meet Us

Throughout the fall of 2012 you will be able to meet the Alliance at various conferences and you will have the opportunity to make use of our skills if you are interested in entering into an EU-funded project with a Danish partner. The Alliance will, among other, be present at the Husum Wind Energy Conference in Germany, the International Conference of Ocean Energy (ICOE) in Dublin and the RenewableUK Annual Conference in Glasgow. The Alliance is looking forward to meeting you.

Last updated: 21/10/2020