The Launch Academy is the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s latest programme aimed at supporting the launch of new offshore wind technologies into the market. As a Launch Academy Delivery Partner, Shepherd and Wedderburn has volunteered to contribute high quality legal services to the winners.

The Academy aims to help UK-based SMEs break into the offshore wind supply chain at a time when the offshore wind industry is proving highly successful. With the UK Government aiming for 30GW of power in UK waters by 2030, there is a real need for innovators who will work with developers to reduce costs.

There is a major prize to be won by those companies that bring innovative technologies and processes to the market now, both in winning work in UK waters and in developing routes into international markets as other jurisdictions in Europe, the Far East and North America develop their offshore wind sector.

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult has established an expert group that will assess companies bidding for a slot in the nine-month Launch Academy programme. The winners will receive both technical development and business growth support over that period, aiming to ensure they are supply chain and investor ready at the end of the process.

Shepherd and Wedderburn provides legal services to many of the offshore wind developers deploying assets in UK waters, both north and south of the border. Those developers are under strong commercial pressures to reduce costs, and we see the Launch Academy as an ideal opportunity for us to give something back.

Once the Launch Academy winners are selected, we will sit down with each one to work out what legal services they need and then match them with the Shepherd and Wedderburn specialist best placed to support them. For example, some may need intellectual property advice, while others may want support to trade in new markets or to raise finance.

We are excited to have the chance to work with companies identified as the leading innovators in this sector and are keen to support these businesses play the fullest possible role in the offshore wind supply chain.