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It's an exciting, important time for the offshore renewable energy industry. Last year, for the first time, analysts' estimates are showing that UK wind farms generated more electricity than traditional coal-fired power stations. Right now, the critical technologies behind wind energy are accounting for over half of all new power installations in the European Union. With the potential to outperform even the UK's new wave of nuclear power stations, offshore wind farms are proving time and again why they're an indispensible asset in the drive toward cleaner, more efficient energy production.

As an emerging and fast-developing industry, offshore renewable energy is going to need commitment and support to realise its potential. The need for alternatives to traditional fossil fuels for general energy production becomes more evident every year. The transition toward electrically powered vehicles could see demand for electricity more than triple in the foreseeable future, so it's going to take serious investment and innovation to meet it. The UK government's new Offshore Wind Innovation Hub is a determined step in the right direction, and a clear sign that they're taking the sector seriously.

The hub's goal is to bring down the costs involved in wind energy production, with a strong focus on expanding the opportunities open to UK businesses. As always, innovation is the key - which puts the spotlight firmly on the agility and dynamism of small and medium-sized enterprises. The Offshore Wind Innovation Hub is run through the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and the Knowledge Transfer Network. As the UK's flagship research centre for renewable energies, ORE Catapult is a strong supporter of SMEs. They understand that smaller businesses are faster to react to opportunities and more creative in their problem solving. These qualities place them at the very heart of developments in offshore renewables, but they also lead to so much of their most innovative work becoming "invisible" to them. Working at the forefront of the industry too often means that crucial innovation quickly becomes just another necessity of the day-to-day job. The research and development sector is the UK's largest industrial sector and biggest innovator, but a great deal of that work is going unnoticed - or at least isn't being properly rewarded.

UK wind power still has plenty of room to grow, and it's absolutely going to need it. Developments will have to be made in energy production and storage methods, and growth in the hydrogen economy is only going to expand demand levels. Any given day in the renewable energy sector is about pushing back boundaries and finding new solutions to complex and long-standing problems. The UK government's Research and Development Tax Credits scheme is the single largest incentive programme of its kind, and needs to take its proper place at the core of all planning going on in the industry. That means putting your whole business under the microscope, which is what RIFT R&D is all about.

Making the most of an R&D Tax Credits claim takes expertise. Qualifying projects and costs need to be hunted down and calculated. You have to gather the evidence to support your claim and know how to submit it correctly. With an average claim in the UK coming to £54,000, attention to the finest details can make all the difference.

Innovation needs to be recognised, encouraged and rewarded, and R&D Tax Credits are a crucial piece in that puzzle. RIFT are the UK's leading tax experts, so get in touch to put us on your technical team. We'll help you make innovation the top renewable power source for your business.

Get credit for your business innovation with research and development tax credits claim assistance from RIFT. Find out more about R&D tax credits for engineering firms, deep dive into the world of business innovation with our insights, or contact RIFT R&D today to find out how we can maximise your benefits.