Town firm gets Government cash boost

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A HARTLEPOOL cable firm is celebrating after becoming one of a handful of UK winners to share a £2.3m Government handout.

JDR Cables, which makes underwater cables for the offshore energy sector, is one of only three firms to be chosen for a project to drive down the cost of energy produced at offshore wind farms.

It won the boost from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration scheme.

Experts say innovation has the potential to drive down costs of offshore wind by 25 per cent by 2020 and 60 per cent by 2050, but further investment is needed in this area.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “This £2.3m will give three more companies the boost they need to take their innovative designs to the next level, helping cut costs in offshore wind generation, and ultimately helping us harness more power from turbines out at sea.

Andrew Norman, the chief executive officer of JDR said: “We are delighted that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has recognised JDR’s capabilities in the field of inter array cables and awarded funding to support our new research into high voltage array cabling for offshore wind farm.”

Mr Norman added: “The project will help drive down the cost of each megawatt of power produced by an offshore wind farm to make this source of renewable power more cost-effective and competitive.

“Our work will also benefit the environment through the introduction of alternative materials in the design of high voltage cables. DECC’s involvement is a positive affirmation of support for the UK offshore wind industry and we look forward to starting work on this exciting project and contributing towards the future growth of this vital industry.”

The Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration scheme was launched in May last year.

The money it has given to JDR Cables, and fellow winners High Voltage Partial Discharge Ltd, and Principle Power (Europe) Ltd, will be used for a range of novel ideas to help cut costs and drive forward growth in the offshore wind sector.

That will include the design of an integrated offshore high voltage network management system, development of innovative cables, and the creation of new floating foundations for wind turbines.