WaveCom, a new radio communications system to serve the East of England’s growing offshore wind farm construction industry, has won a GBP 50,000 grant as part of the Supply Chain Innovation for Offshore Renewable Energy (SCORE) programme.
This custom-built two-way radio network to provide coverage along the east coast is being developed by Fern Communications.
The Lowestoft-based company initially won the contract to provide a system for the Galloper offshore wind farm, located between 34km and 55km off Suffolk.
Fern has further developed the concept to design a radio system than can be used by multiple operators and sub-contractors across a wider area.
The project attracted the maximum grant from the SCORE scheme, which aims to help companies across England to develop new products, processes and ideas that solve problems and drive efficiency in offshore renewables bringing benefit to the east of England.
“Our radio system will provide the east coast offshore renewables industry with huge efficiency savings. Instead of each company and subcontractor having to set up their own radio network, ours will be readily available and fully operational,’‘ Fern managing director Jennifer Cushion said.
“But we could not have done it without the SCORE grant, which is helping us cover the research and development costs, months ahead of income coming on stream. Our aim is to provide seamless radio communications coverage across ports and harbours, the offshore windfarm sites, transit routes, and back to onshore or offshore marine co-ordination centres. Access to our system will be available to both fixed vessel and hand-portable radios.”
Grants are available to start-up and established companies for up to 40% of eligible costs or GBP 50,000, whichever is the lower, with a minimum grant of GBP 2,500.
SCORE project manager Rob Bush said: “This is a great project that delivers savings to wind farm operators through the problem-solving and technological skills of an innovative company. It is exactly the kind of idea we are keen to support.”