Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC)
which, together with Government, identified
the challenges facing the sector and developed the Strategy's
Developers must also provide a project-byproject
pipeline of demand showing key
milestones ahead including tendering and
investment decision dates to inform lower
tier companies, including new entrants. The
Offshore Wind Project Timelines Reports are
published in June each year at the Offshore
Wind Conference of the sector's main trade
association, RenewableUK, which has over
500 member companies.
Share Fairs to focus on near term projects
and allow suppliers to meet and hear directly
from buyers about their procurement strategies are
also being held. These are an idea
adopted from the oil & gas industry and will
complement supply chain events and supplier days run by individual developers.
But new UK suppliers will only benefit from
this commitment by industry and government for more
local content if they are fit for
purpose, and one of the most important
programmes launched for engineering companies is GROW:Offshore
Wind - a Regional
Growth Fund support programme aimed
specifically at increasing UK content in offshore
GROW:OffshoreWind is delivered by Grant
Thornton and programme partners the
Manufacturing Advisory Service, RenewableUK and Sheffield University, in close collaboration
with industry leaders and
GROW:Offshore Wind gives SMEs direct
access to market experts, technological
know-how through specialist centres, and
funding support to aid upfront investment.
Dominic Brown, Head of GROW:Offshore
Wind, says developers they have spoken to
are keen to increase UK content and companies looking to
invest in Tier 1 facilities here
will want assurances of the availability of local
supply chains to service their operations.
"Through RenewableUK," he says, "we will
effectively have the 'voice of the customer.'
Its Supply Chain Strategy group (see page
10), together with its wider membership,
consists of key tier one manufacturers and
developers that will help steer the programme."
GTMA is in close contact with RenewableUK
about how it can help fill expected supply
chain bottlenecks. "We are very keen to
make our large engineering resource dovetail
into supply gaps," says CEO Julia Moore.
GROW:Offshore Wind is providing upfront
analysis of the realistic commercial opportunities for UK manufacturers
and giving them
a clearer understanding of the scale of
future demand and how they can best benefit from
A breakdown of offshore wind components
into their technical, commercial and qualifying criteria
helps manufacturers match their
capabilities with market opportunities, and
an initial assessment by a GROW:Offshore
Wind advisor helps them understand any
potential supplier performance gaps.
Financial support is available on a matchedfunded basis up to
£500,000 to help companies overcome
these gaps and make
them ready for competitive tendering. This
funding can support a wide variety of activity
including support for progressing the sector's
innovation challenges of driving down
cost and improving quality and efficiency.
The initiative also gives manufacturers access
to a national network of Technology Centres.
Contact point to register your interest in
GROW:Offshore Wind is at the end of this
GROW:Offshore Wind is direct action aimed
at the supply chain, but the Government's
strategy also dealt with a range of other
issues that impact on cost and performance.
Many of these are being driven by the
Offshore Wind Programme Board (OWPB), a
joint industry-Government body of offshore
wind developers, supply chain companies,
funding organisations and Government.
ENGINE FOR ACTION
In its 2014 annual report OWPB describes itself
as "an engine for action" to make offshore wind
the leading low cost low carbon power source
through the 2020s and 2030s - it is, it says,
"one of the most exciting engineering and
energy experiences open to the UK."
OWPB has created eight workstreams, each
led by an industry leader, under these key
Supply Chain • Skills • Technology and
Innovation • Contracting Strategies •
Planning and Consent • Grid + Finance •
Operations & Maintenance
Activities in each workstream are outlined in
the annual report and each has a vision of
continued on page 10
Photo courtesy RWE Innogy -
the company has more than 30
wind farms in the UK and
around 20 hydropower sites.
Hydropower is a sector which
is unlikely to see many more
big investments in the UK,
unlike wind renewables which
continues to grow significantly.
The photo is at the Gwynt y
Mor windpark, 13 km off the
North Wales coast.