The UK’s National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) has set up a £2.8m ($4.2m) public-private initiative to help small to medium businesses break into the offshore wind and marine renewable energy supply chain.

The Renewable Energy Technology Accelerator (RETA) project will target companies in the northeast of England, where there is already a growing offshore wind business servicing wind farms in the North Sea.

RETA will launch with three new collaborations, involving companies developing technologies to reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy installations.

Tony Ikwue, innovation and corporate development director at Narec, said: “Narec has created this programme to build on the strengths of local engineering companies.  Initial interest from industry has been extremely high and the projects selected will see new products being developed in the North East.”

He added that there would also be “knock on benefits by way of supply contracts and knowledge transfer opportunities for SMEs looking to enter these promising but still relatively immature industries”.

Over its lifetime, the project is expected to provide more than 70 regional small-to-medium enterprises with technical and market advisory services to assist them with developing products and services aimed at the offshore renewables industry.