£100m fund to boost support for offshore wind
Supply chain firms are being encouraged to capitalise on the growing offshore wind sector after a new partnership supporting the industry was announced.
A £100 million industry-funded programme, chaired by former McLaren Group chief executive officer and Formula One team principal Martin Whitmarsh, will support companies to benefit from the global demand for wind power.
The new Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) aims to support the growth of UK businesses over the next decade to deliver 60 per cent of content for UK developments by 2030, increasing from 48 per cent today.
The OWGP will be delivered by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult which will provide support to supply chain companies to enable them to grow and to increase their competitiveness.
Support will include a range of services such as expert advice on manufacturing and commercialisation as well as funding for innovation.
The programme, launched by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), is expected to support more than 650 UK companies to access the domestic offshore wind market, as well as creating further opportunities to enter a global market expected to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030.
It is anticipated the annual value of UK offshore wind exports alone could grow five-fold by the end of the next decade to £2.6 billion.
Industry chairman of the OWIC and Ørsted UK country manager for offshore, Benj Sykes, said: “The offshore wind industry is offering multimillion-pound opportunities to hundreds of innovative companies throughout the UK in the years ahead – including new entrants to the market as well as firms already working in this area.
“The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership will provide practical help for UK companies so they can compete successfully for contracts in this thriving global market. The UK’s global pre-eminence in offshore wind means we are uniquely placed to sell our innovative products and services worldwide.”
The OWGP announced it will embark upon an in-depth assessment of the offshore wind foundations sector. This will assess the current and projected requirements for turbine foundations in the UK and abroad, identify potential barriers to growth and make recommendations to overcome these challenges.
This four-month project is the first in a series of studies which the OWGP will undertake into various parts of the offshore wind supply chain.
The study will focus on fixed foundations (monopiles and jackets) but will also consider how this relates to future developments in floating foundations. It will identify suppliers for different foundation types, assessing what has made companies operating in the sector successful, and look at buyers’ requirements in terms of price and quality, so that other firms can enter the market.
The study will recommend actions to help support the development of the UK supply chain for foundations through short and long-term initiatives.
Nick Sharpe, director of communications at Scottish Renewables, said: “This programme, which will be delivered as part of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, is a major opportunity for the UK supply chain to capitalise on a growing domestic and international offshore wind market, as well as allowing industry to increase the UK content of our offshore wind farms.
“As Scotland begins to build out projects which will harness its offshore wind potential, there is a real chance for supply chain businesses to invest and expand, creating skilled jobs and delivering economic growth across the country.
"Key to this is the commitment, through the OWGP, to complete an in-depth assessment of the offshore wind foundations sector, reviewing the current and projected requirements for turbine foundations in the UK and abroad, identifying barriers to growth and making recommendations to overcome these challenges."