One of the offshore renewable energy challenges is the current lack of cross-sectoral collaboration, limiting the transfer of existing and proven expertise, capabilities and products from more mature sectors (e.g. offshore wind energy, oil & gas, shipping, etc.) into the offshore renewable energy sector. In addition, there are innovation & collaboration supports available at a regional basis but there is a lack of inter Region collaboration through Europe. Finally, collaboration initiatives might be prevented at the earliest stages by difficulties in partners identification, overprotective approach to knowledge sharing, lack of time and funding, etc.
To meet these challenges, the Ocean Power Innovation Network (OPIN) was created in 2019, funded by Interreg North-West Europe. OPIN is a European network aiming at encouraging both cross-sectoral and cross-regional collaboration for the offshore renewable energy community. By creating an environment where stakeholders can collaborate transnationally and across sectors, OPIN aims at accelerating the growth of the offshore renewable energy sector and its supply chains. Being part of the OPIN network is free and worldwide open to any stakeholders which are or could be operating in the offshore renewables sector, with a focus on wave, tidal and floating wind energy. OPIN aims at supporting particularly Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), but the network is open to any types of organisations: research institutes, large companies, public organizations, etc. to encourage cross-sector interactions.
Currently, the network has more than 400 members from 27 different countries (from Europe and beyond) exceeding its initial objective of 250 members. By mid-2022, OPIN targets to establish a sustainable network and to provide direct support to 100 companies. A particular focus will be made in the poster on the supporting mechanisms available for free to the OPIN members: networking events (annual symposium, workshops), masterclasses, technology assessment/advise and support for collaborative working groups. During the four years (2019-2022) of the project, there will be multiple opportunities for the offshore renewable energy community to benefit from these supports.