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Offshore wind industry seeks to unlock UK supply chain innovation

Published:  26 June, 2024

Coinciding with the RenewableUK’s ‘Wind Energy Week’, the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) is highlighting its newly published standardised technology demonstration agreement (STDA).

This agreement and the accompanying guidance aims to provide standardisation for technology providers and offshore wind operators seeking to test and demonstrate new products and services on offshore wind farms under operational conditions.

One crucial but often overlooked stage of technology development is testing and demonstration new products and services on wind farms. But to date, there has been a lack of consistent guidance on how technology providers – often small enterprises - can perform these demonstrations on offshore wind assets owned by large operators.

To solve this challenge, the standardised technology demonstration agreement (STDA) provides a template agreement for testing and demonstrating near-to-market technologies (TLR-7-9) on operational offshore wind farms in the UK, setting out clear roles and responsibilities of the technology providers and operators, and clarifying the process steps to a successful demonstration. A consistent approach to technology demonstrations backed by a standard agreement template will enable the UK innovators to take new products and services to market faster, having obtained performance data under real operational conditions.

The STDA Task Force was composed of industry experts across the offshore wind sector – including OWGP, offshore wind developers, supply chain companies and financial and legal experts. It has been supported by representatives from the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) and RenewableUK. The STDA was developed in direct response to Tim Pick’s Offshore Wind Champion Report, which called for an industry-standard approach to technology demonstration agreements

Tim Pick MBE, OWGP Director, said: “During my time as the UK’s Offshore Wind Champion, it became apparent the offshore wind sector is oozing with high-potential innovations that aren’t always realised. By providing a clear template and easier access to the market, this agreement will help more of these ideas to become a commercial reality – unlocking more value in business growth, intellectual property, and exports for UK companies. This agreement, along with the recent publication of the Offshore Wind Industrial Growth Plan, are solid evidence that the offshore wind industry is collaborating, rapidly maturing, and becoming a real shining star of the UK’s future.”

Ajai Ahluwalia, Head of Supply Chain at RenewableUK, said: “The formal publication of the STDA is a long needed and promising development for the industry. I know from firsthand experience the challenges operators have in allowing these demos. The STDA should make it easier for operators to say yes and hopefully see technology applied that, for example, see assets perform better. Operators are rightly cautious when implementing new technology or services on revenue-generating operating assets. But with the STDA, Innovators and Operators now have a better means of articulating the risks and responsibilities which will provide consistency and transparency across the industry.”

The Standard Technology Demonstration Agreement (STDA) has now been published in full, and can be found here:

Credit ORE Catapult - Levenmouth Test Turbine.

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