The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and the National Renewable Energy Centre have today announced that they are merging to form a national champion for the development and cost reduction of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy across the UK.

The move will see the research, development, demonstration and testing facilities of Narec combined with what is described as the "leadership, industrial reach and engineering expertise" of ORE Catapult. The aim is to "accelerate the design, deployment and commercialisation of renewable energy technology innovation, helping to attract overseas investment and to realise the enormous opportunity presented by the UK’s offshore renewable energy resources."

"We will play a leading role in ensuring the UK replicates the success of the oil and gas industries"

Andrew Jamieson, chief executive of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, who will lead the combined organisation, said: "We will play a leading role in ensuring the UK replicates the success of the oil and gas industries, creating many thousands of skilled jobs, contributing billions of pounds to the economy and ensuring that the UK has a major influence on European policy, funding and offshore renewable energy development in the decades to come."

Andrew Mill will step down as Narec chief executive and will join the board of ORE Catapult as a non-executive director.

Offshore renewables are expected to make the largest contribution to meeting the UK’s commitment to providing 15% of all energy (electricity, heat and transport) from renewables by 2020, by which time it is estimated that some £110 billion will have been invested in transforming the UK’s generation mix from today’s heavy fossil fuel dependency to low carbon technologies, with approximately £50 billion expected to go into offshore renewables.