Glasgow-based Scottish Power and Perth-based SSE have joined a campaign led by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) to secure a “footprint” for the East of England’s business expertise for new offshore wind farm developments in the UK and worldwide.
The project has been launched by EEEGR’s new Offshore Wind Supply Chain Special Interest Group to help developers fulfil their UK and local content targets.
Unlike most trade association in Scotland, the East of England Energy Group is a ‘broad church’ whose membership spans the energy spectrum, from gas and oil to renewables, under the ‘one church roof.’
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.
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.
Scottish Power and SSE have offered to share their supply chain plans with EEEGR 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.
A session dedicated to the offshore wind supply chain and wind farm developers will be part of EEEGR’s conference and exhibition in Norwich next year.
Hacon told the EEEGR steering group that it was essential that businesses ‘demonstrated cost savings to developers in line with the Government’s demand to bring down offshore wind costs.’
“We need to act now. Time is of the essence or we will miss the window of opportunity to consolidate and export our expertise while the east of England’s wind farms are developing. It is about working together for the whole supply chain to benefit.”
Meanwhile, there is now a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for East Anglia to become the global centre for marine energy renewables, according to local Tory MP Peter Aldous (Waveney).
He congratulated the “local champions” of the offshore wind industry for building the East of England reputation and said government clarity was needed for confidence for investors and the industry needed to look for greater collaboration “to bring wholesale benefits to the people of the area”.
“There is the opportunity to make Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth the global centre for marine renewables – a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We want those turbines out there to be stamped “Made in Britain.”