The UK offshore wind sector is at the
centre of a 'renewables revolution' estimated to be worth more
than £100 billion
over the next 20 years.
Yet there is a huge challenge facing both
the UK Government and industry to make
sure British companies and suppliers
benefit from the growth to come, which in
manufacturing alone is estimated to be
worth £15 billion in the UK, and with a
further £50 billion global export market.
The stakes are high and the sector is on
a road to transform the UK supply chain
to win the business...
When it comes to offshore wind Britain leads
the world. More turbines than anywhere
else; more growth planned than anywhere
else; more jobs than anywhere else. In fact,
more offshore wind has been developed in
the UK than the rest of the world combined.
30 NEW PROJECTS
As we went to Press over 30 new offshore
wind projects were planned in UK waters
and, with confidence growing, world players
are beginning to commit to build factories in
the UK to produce the thousands of wind
turbines needed - including a £310 million
investment by Siemens and Associated
British Ports to build two factories for offshore
wind turbine manufacture in Hull.
This makes offshore renewables a unique
opportunity for engineering companies at all
levels, especially as Government and industry
are already taking action to grow a
vibrant UK supply chain for the sector.
At the heart of it all is the UK's Offshore
Wind Industrial Strategy, a 76-page document described as a "blueprint"for the sector.
It was signed off at the end of 2013 by
three Ministers - Vince Cable (Business,
Innovation and Skills), Edward Davey (Energy
and Climate Change) and Michael Fallon
(Business and Enterprise and Minister of
State for Energy).
The Strategy's stated aim is "to build an
innovative, competitive UK-based supply
chain to transform the sector's manufacturing capability."
Today only a "modest amount of contracts"
are served by UK manufacturers, says the
strategy; but the vision is to make the UK "a
centre of engineering excellence...and achieve
levels of UK content similar to the North Sea
oil and gas industry where 70% of capital
expenditure is through UK-based suppliers."
There are a range of actions in place to
develop and grow this competitive UK supply chain, and to
attract inward investment in
offshore wind. These range from practical
support to spread best practice and
advanced manufacturing capabilities to easier access to
But one of the most innovative moves is
within the framework for awarding major
contracts - a mechanism called Contracts
for Difference (CfDs) which effectively guarantee
investors stable prices for 15 years.
SUPPLY CHAIN PLAN
To receive the CfD developers must first prepare
a supply chain plan which sets out how
the project and buying approach will:
• Support sustainable supply chain development
• Encourage a wider, more diverse supply
• Support innovation and skills development.
Details of the information needed has been
developed by key stakeholders, including
the developers themselves, with the
IT'S THE £100 BILLION
ACTIONS TO TRANSFORM THE UK SUPPLY CHAIN
The London Array, left, is currently the world's
largest offshore wind farm and has a capacity of
630MW. It produces enough power for nearly
500,000 homes and during construction over 75
organisations helped to build it. The photo is courtesy
Siemens which, with ABP Ports, has
announced two new offshore wind turbine factories
to be built in Hull. Above: Courtesy RenewableUK