The East of England Energy Group (EEEGR)’s new Offshore Wind Supply Chain Special Interest Group (SIG) has launched a campaign to secure a “footprint” for the East of England’s vast business expertise for new offshore wind farm developments in the UK and worldwide.
The project will also help developers fulfil their UK and local content targets.
Work has started to build a national and international profile for the region’s supply chain and present its collective proven skills, knowledge and experience to developers as ready-made solutions when they are looking for the right companies to work on their multi-billion developments, EEEGR said.
Businesses will work together to map the region’s skills base, which will also be marketed for export to the developing industry in the US, Japan and China, as well as the European market.
The idea is to save developers looking outside the East of England when awarding contracts on projects, from the planning and development stage, through construction and, later, for operations and maintenance.
If successful, the campaign will create new jobs, attract more investment and build an even stronger supply chain in the region with an international reputation and potential opportunities for decades to come, according to EEEGR.
At the first meeting of the new SIG, chaired by Graham Hacon, chief executive of Great Yarmouth-based 3sun, members agreed to compile a complete picture of the breadth of the region’s expertise.
ScottishPower Renewables, developers of East Anglia ONE, and SSE, who have the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, have offered to share their supply chain plans with the SIG at future meetings.
Other offshore wind farm developers will be invited to do the same to help shape the regional offer to meet UK and local targets, to identify any gaps which can then be filled.
Developers were under huge pressure to award contracts locally to meet UK content targets – and there is still time to pitch the wealth of services locally to projects under development, including ScottishPower Renewables’ East Anglia ONE, Hacon said. Drawing an accurate picture of all wind farms being developed in the UK and internationally would offer a clear vision of the opportunities to help shape the plan, he said. “Developers can challenge us as a group to come up with the expertise to fill their gaps and weaknesses.”
The group will also look at the six geographical clusters of offshore wind development in the UK and Europe and target those that the East of England regional supply chain could work on, from the planning and pre-construction stages through to operations and maintenance.