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Home » ADVERTORIAL: Offshore Wind 5G ‘living Lab’ To Be Developed On The Humber

ADVERTORIAL: Offshore Wind 5G ‘living Lab’ To Be Developed On The Humber

An offshore wind ‘living lab’ thought to be the biggest in the world will be created off the Grimsby coast through the development of a 5G Testbed that includes Grimsby Port and the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm.

The £2.8m project will accelerate the development of a new generation of digital technologies essential for the huge expansion of offshore wind generation required to meet climate targets. It is being driven by a consortium led by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and bringing together the expertise of Microsoft, Vilicom, JET Connectivity, XceCo, Associated British Ports (ABP), Accelleran and Satellite Applications Catapult.

The 5G Testbed will allow technology providers to test and demonstrate their equipment in real world conditions, with access to reliable, high-speed communications. It aims to kickstart a digital revolution in offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) in the region and attract users from the global offshore wind sector.

Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm (Image: ORE Catapult) Ben George, head of Smart O&M at ORE Catapult, said: “This 5G Testbed is a hugely exciting development for O&M in offshore renewable energy, as it establishes the core communications infrastructure for the biggest offshore* wind ‘living lab’ in the world. The Testbed will demonstrate the benefits of new remote digital solutions that require high bandwidth, low latency wireless communications – aimed at making O&M safer, greener and more effective.

“We are delighted to be working with our group of expert partners as we seek to transform the Humber into a new ‘silicon estuary’.”

To create the Testbed, two 5G technology development and demonstration zones over the existing fibre network will be built – one at Grimsby Port and the other within the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm. Fifteen 5G radio transmitters will be placed across five sites including wind turbines and a radio mast, and two 5G solar powered buoys will provide an extended 5G network beyond the range of the wind farm.

One of the 5G solar powered buoys mentioned in the story that will form part of the Testbed (Image: JET Connectivity) The offshore wind sector is growing rapidly, increasing the need for O&M, which is currently expensive and hazardous. On average, O&M accounts for 25% of the total lifetime cost of an offshore wind farm, and as the sector expands, there is a strong push to reduce this cost by using robotics and autonomous solutions to support necessary inspections, maintenance and repair.

The project will be funded with £1m from the Innovate UK Cyber Physical Infrastructure (CPI) fund, an expected £1m from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and industry match funding.

The 5G Testbed project will be based at ORE Catapult’s Operations and Maintenance Centre of Excellence in Grimsby, one of the UK’s largest O&M ports.

Find out more at

ORE Catapult is sponsoring the Green Innovation Award at the Humber Renewables Awards 2023. Find out more at

*There are existing testbeds in ports and nearby over-water areas and some private 5G networks within new wind farms, but not a testbed such as ORE Catapult’s that is open to innovators to utilise and is integrated into both an operational port and operational offshore wind assets.

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