A £100M fund has been established to help companies in the UK capitalise on the global boom in offshore wind
A £100M (US$127M) fund has been established to help companies in the UK capitalise on the global boom in offshore wind.
Hundreds of companies are expected to benefit from the initiative to maximise offshore wind supply chain opportunities, which will be chaired by former McLaren Group chief executive and Formula One team principal Martin Whitmarsh. It is hoped the initiative will help deliver 60% UK content in UK offshore windfarms by 2030.
Industry chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) and Ørsted UK country manager for offshore, Benj Sykes said, “The offshore wind industry offers multi-million 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 (OWGP) 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 10-year programme is being rolled-out by OWIC. Known as the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP), it is a key part of the recent Sector Deal between industry and government, which will see at least 30 GW of offshore wind installed by 2030, generating a third of the UK’s electricity (up from 8 GW now).
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 and funding for innovation. This will help UK companies currently in the UK offshore wind supply chain; enhance the ability of UK companies to export products and services around the world; enable companies from other sectors to enter the offshore wind supply chain; and inspire companies to develop the next generation of innovative products and services to meet specific industry requirements.
The programme is expected to enable more than 650 UK companies to access the domestic offshore wind market and create further opportunities to enter a global market expected to be worth £30Bn (US$38Bn) per 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 £2.6Bn (US$3.3Bn).
To mark the launch of the initiative, the OWGP is initiating its first project, an indepth 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. The four-month activity is the first in a series of studies the OWGP will undertake into various parts of the offshore wind supply chain.
The study will focus on fixed foundations, such as 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.
First registrations of interest by companies seeking to benefit from the wider OWGP programme can be made at RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Wind conference and exhibition in London, which takes place 25-26 June.
The OWGP will invite companies to apply for support on a regular basis. The first pilot opportunity is expected to be in September with further programmes starting in early 2020.