The Northern Way have recently approved funding for a detailed analysis of the capability of the offshore wind supply chain across the North of England.
Envirolink Northwest is managing the research that will be delivered by March 2011. The research will produce an on-line directory of suppliers, a guide to how companies can diversify into the sector and meet future technology requirements.
The aim is to help progress the development of the offshore wind sector across the North of England and to provide companies who want to supply the sector with a better understanding of the industries dynamics, its procurement processes and its technology requirements. The report on technology requirements will focus on areas where the development of technology will improve the competitiveness of the sector and provide business opportunities for supply chain companies.
The project is required to ensure companies from across the North of England are in a position to capture a significant proportion of future investment in offshore wind. Currently the proportion of UK content in offshore wind farms, in terms of technologies and services, is low. One of the main problems for the industry is that major companies find it difficult to understand the UK’s true supply chain capability and conversely supply chain companies find it difficult to penetrate a market where strong relationships already exist between leading companies and their suppliers in Western Europe. The benefits of this project will be invaluable to the UK economy as the offshore wind industry will be matched with its supply chain in the UK.
Ross Dixon, Senior Business Development Manager, Envirolink Northwest said, “A detailed knowledge of the supply chain capability is critical to ensure that gaps and constraints can be addressed and that information provided to potential investors is of sufficient quality. The UK takes the lead globally in terms of installed offshore wind capacity and the next challenge is to ensure the UK supply chain has both the capability and technologies to deliver future offshore wind projects. Offshore wind represents a very real opportunity for Northern England to create more jobs and long term economic growth in one of the UK’s fastest growing industries.”
Joe Flanagan, Head of energy and environmental technologies sector at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) said: “This is a great opportunity for the northern supply chain of offshore wind to make other organisations aware of their capabilities. There is a huge variety of undiscovered talent within the supply chain of this sector and we aim to remove barriers to growth of the offshore wind industry and increase any opportunities to support the development of this market sector.”