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Offshore Renewable Energy Challenge

Accelerating growth in Offshore Renewable Energy

The ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme helps innovators and start-ups to develop new solutions that support safe, secure and thriving oceans. 

For this challenge, the UKHO and Cefas are looking for participants to develop solutions that use marine geospatial data to identify new areas for Offshore Renewable Energy and optimise the performance of existing infrastructure. 

Each entrant will have access to world leading marine geospatial data, with winners receiving prizes worth £75,000 and the opportunity to launch their product in a sector estimated to be worth £178bn by 2030.

Why should I participate?

  • As a participant, you'll be given the opportunity to work closely with the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) to develop a new solution for a sector that is estimated to grow around 25% year-on-year and be worth £178bn by 2030

  • To develop your product concept, you will be given access to a world-leading marine geospatial data, as well as wide-ranging expertise from UKHO and Cefas teams

  • The winner will receive around £75,000 worth of prizes, including hands-on support and marine geospatial data from the UKHO to develop an alpha product to test in the market

How do I enter?

To enter, we are asking participants to fill out a short application form telling us about you, your company and the challenge within the Offshore Renewable Energy sector you will be looking to address. We will then select 5 applicants to take through to a design sprint. During this sprint, teams will work together online to design and develop a prototype product to test with real life users in the offshore renewable energy sector.

Enter now >

Read our Design Sprint Guide >

Your challenge: How can marine geospatial data help accelerate the growth of the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector?

Offshore renewables are helping the world to combat climate change by reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and are giving communities around the world access to a more sustainable source of energy. This sector can also support the development of a thriving Blue Economy. In fact, by 2030, we estimate the ocean renewables sector will be worth a staggering £178 billion and employ over 1.5 million people around the world.

To realise this growth, companies need access to data that can help them to identify the best locations for offshore wind, tidal stream and wave energy infrastructure. This includes developing an understanding of the marine environment and how changing conditions could affect performance, longevity and maintenance of each installation. Not only can this support new installations but optimise the performance of existing infrastructure around the world.

At the UK Hydrographic Office, we hold a wealth of marine geospatial data that can help meet these challenges, with bathymetry, seabed geology, tidal data, information on marine habitats and weather information for potential sites across the UK. And as world leading experts in marine and freshwater science, Cefas also hold data that helps keep our seas, oceans and rivers healthy and productive and our seafood safe and sustainable.

Your challenge is to identify, trial and prove how this data can support the growth of the Offshore Renewable Energy sector by helping planners to find suitable sites and mitigate implementation risks, while minimising impact on the environment.

Read our full Blue Economy report on the Offshore Renewable Energy sector >

 Entrants will get access to world-leading data and expertise from the UKHO and Cefas

What you'll receive

Selected participants will have access to world-leading geospatial and scientific data from the UK Hydrographic Office and Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science throughout the challenge. Teams will also get the chance to work with leading experts from both organisations as they develop a prototype product to test with users from the offshore renewable energy market.

The prize

The winner will receive hands-on support and marine geospatial information, valued at around £75,000, to develop an alpha product to test in the Offshore Renewable Energy Market.

Find out more and enter >

​Throughout the innovation programme, participants will receive support from UKHO and Cefas staff, as well as access to wide range of marine data when developing their own solutions. Below you will find more information on the resources available for the Offshore Renewable Energy challenge.


The UKHO hold a wealth of marine geospatial data from the seabed, to the coast, offshore and beyond. This includes vast amounts of hydrographic and oceanographic data, ranging from seabed composition samples and bathymetric profiles of the seafloor, to astronomical and meteorological data. 

As world leading experts in marine and freshwater science, Cefas provide data that helps government and overseas partners keep our seas, oceans and rivers healthy and productive and our seafood safe and sustainable.

To support this challenge, both organisations will provide the data outlined below for a range of selected geographical locations.

Coastal data

Satellite Derived Coastline data sets containing coastline vectors at various states of the tide. 

Coastline and other associated features (e.g. shoreline construction).

Tidal heights and tidal streams data

Tidal predictions around the UK from the country's largest network of tidal stations.

A rich tidal prediction beta API offering providing full prediction capabilities.

Bathymetry data

Extensive UK bathymetry holdings (over 4,000 bathymetry surfaces from 1970 to present day) ranging from high resolution data to processed individual data sets.

Deconflicted data sets provide a seamless view of the shape of the seafloor in given areas, and could also include contours, soundings and depth areas.

VORF data

Vertical Offshore Reference Frame (VORF) that can be used to transform vertical height information across reference levels in UK land, coastal and offshore zones.

Offshore infrastructure data sets

Over 7,500 surface and subsurface offshore energy installations and infrastructure in UK waters, including oil and gas platforms, wind turbines, well heads, pipelines and respective safety zones.


​Extensive UK dataset (over 8,000 live and charted wrecks) of current and historic wrecks and obstructions for around the UK.

Aquaculture sites

A web map service of aquaculture sites around the UK.

AIS heatmaps

Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) heatmaps at 1km and 100m resolutions grouped by vessel type​.

Contextual backdrop

The UK EEZ ENC dataset API (Beta) provides access to a Web Map Service of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) that cover the United Kingdom Exclusive Economic Zone (UK EEZ).

Geological data

A raster web map service including sediment and bedrock data provided by the British Geological Society.

Maritime Practice and Exercise Area (PEXA) Limits

A web map service of authoritative Maritime Practice and Exercise Area (PEXA) limits around the UK.

Seabed composition

Almost 50,000 grab samples in UK waters from the ADMIRALTY Marine Data Portal.

Particle size analysis and substrate composition from Cefas Data Hub.

Maritime features

A set of REST APIs that provide deconflicted maritime feature data in GeoJSON, feature code descriptions and attribute code descriptions.

Marine Protected Areas

A web map service of authoritative Marine Protected Areas around the UK.

Coastal and offshore monitoring

Impact monitoring data and international reporting and assessment from Cefas Data Hub.

Offshore industries and commerical activities

Data on dredging, commercial fishing activity, aquaculture suitability and shellfish harvesting.


Fish, shellfish, fisheries survey data and related sample data.

Established time-series survey data, including international bottom trawl survey data covering significant geographical areas, species and habitats.

Species tracking and migratory species data.

Benthic, infauna and macrofauna.

Plankton including fish spawning and nursery.

Physical parameters and coastal processes

Seawater temperature, salinity, organic carbon in sediment and metocean data.

Biogeochemical - nutrient and carbon cycling within the shelf seas, and of their role in global biogeochemical cycles.

Habitat mapping and hydrographic data

Marine Conservation Zone mapping, site and biotope classification, and hydrographic data from Cefas Data Hub.


From hydrography and oceanography to software engineering and data science, the UKHO's team of experts have wide-ranging knowledge and experience in developing solutions to help commercial and government partners make the best use of our oceans. Throughout the task, participants will get to work alongside some of these teams to gain support along the journey of turning initial ideas into innovative product propositions. 

You will be offered support in the following areas:

  • Market and user research - Our dedicated user research teams can help ensure your product meets user needs by helping to plan, manage and support all research. This could include conducting surveys, interviews, UX and user journey mapping, competitor analysis and persona creation.

  • Design - Based on your research results, we can support you in creating user-centred designs and propositions, including wireframes and prototypes. We use an iterative design and test approach to ensure all decisions are made with business and user needs at the forefront.

  • GIS development - With this user insight, our teams can offer extensive knowledge and expertise of geospatial data and tooling to help you create and develop a proof of concept. This proof of concept will not only prove the technical feasibility of your idea, but also minimise the risk in moving from an alpha product to market.

  • Delivery management - Finally, to deliver the activities required for an alpha release, we can provide further support from planning (to ensure desirability, feasibility and viability) through to managing change and engaging stakeholders.

Teams will also get to work alongside world leading experts in marine and freshwater science at Cefas. With an exceptional breadth of science and technology capability, their team can provide invaluable input into each solution.

​A timeline of key dates for this challenge are outlined below, including the deadline for applications, the selection of finalists and announcement of the winning solution.

30 November - 31 December 2020 

Submit your application

Complete the application below by 31 December. 

We will then assess each application and contact successful applicants.

Complete application form >

 6 January 2021

Selected teams notified

5 successful applicants will be invited to participate in a design sprint challenge and gain access to cutting edge data and expertise.

7 January - 15 January 2021 


You will receive guidance and access to UKHO and Cefas data sets and tools to use to collaborate during the competition.

18 January - 22 January 2021

Design sprint week

You will then take part in a design event where teams will work together online to design and develop a prototype product to test with real life users in the Offshore Renewable Energy sector.

Read our Design Sprint Guide >

25 January - 28 January 2021


Participants will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of UKHO and Cefas experts and answer clarifying questions. The presentation can be in the form of a PowerPoint, with mock-up, prototypes or product demos. A fully functioning product is not expected at this stage.

25 January - 28 January 2021

Evaluation of solutions

A panel of UKHO and Cefas experts will evaluate the final prototypes against the winning criteria and provide feedback.

29 January 

Winner announcement

The successful team will be announced, after which the UKHO will provide support to take the winning solution to market.

Applications for this challenge are now closed; details about upcoming challenges can be found on the Marine Innovation Programme homepage.

You can read more about the winning solution for this challenge below.

Find out about the winning solution > 

ADMIRALTY Marine Innovation Programme > 

The UKHO panel will select the best applicants to participate in the Design Sprint week. By the end of the Design Sprint week, participating teams will be required to submit their solutions and the winner will be announced based on the following criteria:

  • Which datasets will you use and how will they optimise your idea?

  • Number of potential clients that can use the solution and the revenue opportunity 

  • Feasibility of the solution and ability to deliver, including team makeup, skills and size 

  • Attractiveness of commercialisation plan (including speed to market)