UK and China announce deal to work on the 'next generation' of renewable energy tech

Matt Cardy | Getty Images

U.K. and Chinese researchers will work together on five projects to develop the "next generation" of offshore renewable energy (ORE) technologies.

In an announcement on Thursday, the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) said that the three-year projects would use environmental science, engineering and technology to tackle "key challenges affecting the development of ORE systems, such as offshore wind, wave and tide facilities."

The projects – which have been funded as part of the Joint U.K.-China Offshore Renewable Energy program – would also look to maximise the environmental and socio-economic benefits of ORE systems.

In addition the NERC said that the projects would, among other things, demonstrate the potential of ORE technologies to provide island and coastal communities with a stable power supply.

The projects are supported with nearly £4 million ($5.26 million) in funding from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council and the NERC. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) is also providing support.

"The U.K. is a world leader in offshore wind, which helps us meet our climate commitments while we grow the economy and create jobs," Richard Harrington, the U.K.'s minister for energy and industry, said in a statement.

"This £4 million investment will support collaborative research into the next generation of offshore technologies with one of our largest global trading partners, unlocking further opportunities for projects across the UK and the rest of the world," Harrington added.

The NSFC's president, Yang Wei, said that further advancing China's renewable energy sector was a crucial part of its 13th five-year plan and would help to "drive future economic growth and advance the cause of low-carbon development."