United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Review of UK offshore wind supply chain launched

UK: The Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) has launched a review of the UK supply chain ahead of publishing a development plan later this year.

The 402MW Dudgeon project off the east coast of England (pic credit: Statkraft)
The 402MW Dudgeon project off the east coast of England (pic credit: Statkraft)

It aims to create a blueprint for how the supply chain can increase productivity and value, and help the UK meet an OWIC ambition of having 30GW deployed or contracted offshore by 2030.

Former McLaren Group CEO Martin Whitmarsh will lead the review. He will encourage existing suppliers to "increase their capability", and "introduce the significant business opportunities to new enterprises", OWIC stated.

The resulting plan will address how the UK supply chain can deliver £2.6 billion (€3 billion) in annual exports by 2030 up from £500 million today, and support up to 27,000 jobs up from 11,000 today.

Whitmarsh said: "Increasing supply chain productivity will directly lead to lower costs and enable UK companies to seize new opportunities across the globe."

The launch of the review comes nearly a month after OWIC presented the UK government with a vision for expanding the country’s offshore wind industry.

The review’s launch also comes four years after OWIC published results of a similar review, which found a high need for manufacturers of foundations, substation structures, and cables, as well as operations and maintenance (O&M) providers.

It also found that companies without a track record in the sector struggled to enter the market.

Since then, there has been "significant growth" in the UK supply chain, according to Benj Sykes, co-chair for OWIC and UK country manager for developer Ørsted.

"We’ve seen significant growth in the supply chain both in capability and diversity, from large-scale manufacture such as transition pieces and array cables, to high-tech offerings such as UXO (unexploded ordnance) services and wind sensors," Sykes said.

"We look forward to deepening and broadening the UK supply chain to take advantage of the rapidly growing export market, which will also deliver more work for projects in the UK," he added. 

A 2017 study by RenewableUK found that 48% of expenditure in planning, building and operating the UK’s offshore projects went to UK companies — up five percentage points on two years earlier, when the previous local content report was carried out. The UK has a local content target of 50% by 2020.

"Improving productivity across the supply chain will have positive knock-on effects throughout the UK, reducing the cost of offshore wind even further, benefitting domestic and industrial consumers, and helping to support other industries as companies across the value chain become more competitive.

"Of course, the big prize is the export market. This is a lucrative opportunity that UK companies want to be involved in," Sykes added.

OWIC expects the latest supply chain review will be completed in the third quarter of 2018 and the development plan published shortly afterwards.

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