The fast-growing offshore wind supply chain in the East of England is on the cusp of a long steady rush of contracts, said Martin Dronfield, the new chair of the East of England Supply Chain Offshore Wind Special Interest Group (SIG).
A pipeline of tenders should make the supply chain “hugely optimistic” about its prospects as multi-billion pound developments offshore East of England step up a gear, Dronfield, Director, Strategy & Business Development for James Fisher, said.
According to Dronfield, businesses across the East of England should be confident enough to supply expertise and innovation outside the region to the development of Dogger Bank and Hornsea projects off the northeast coast, as well as offshore wind farms off their beaches.
Dronfield said ScottishPower Renewables’ East Anglia projects and Vattenfall’s Vanguard and Boreas wind farms offer multiple opportunities for the local supply chain, with early engagement expected in 2018 and through 2019.
“Many opportunities are 12-18 months away, and we need to keep in mind that remaining competitive is, and will continue to be, a huge driver as the whole industry focuses on how it will meet the auction prices in the Contracts for Difference regime,” said Dronfield.
“There is concern amongst the supply chain about how this will impact on us and we need to understand and focus our energy on how we deal with it and how we protect the supply chain from being at the bottom end of a rolling drive to simply cut costs, perhaps through an industry-wide agreement to a Supply Chain Code of Practice.”
According to Dronfield, mature offshore wind farms can also offer future work scopes in terms of upgrades, modifications, repairs, as well as contracts for operations and maintenance.
On 1 March, the new chair will join leaders of offshore wind farm developers at the SNS2018, East of England Energy Group’s (EEEGR) two-day conference and exhibition focused on the Southern North Sea (SNS), where they will outline their projects.