UK Offshore Wind Industry Council ponders response to hard-hitting ‘Wood-style’ SWOT report

 

Matthew Chinn, Managing Director, Siemens UK
Matthew Chinn, Managing Director, Siemens UK

By DARA BUTTERFIELD

A new supply chain report for the UK Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) – carried out by Matthew Chinn, Managing Director, Siemens UK Energy Sector – has published a series of hard-hitting recommendations saying that:

“OWIC needs to act promptly and decisively to drive forward actions that will make a tangible difference to opportunities for the supply chain w-industry in the UK”.

Set up in May 2013, the offshore wind council is the strategic partnership forum between Government and the industry; its role is to drive offshore wind deployment, bring down costs and build a successful, competitive UK-based industry. It oversees delivery of the Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy, which sets out how the industry and UK and devolved governments work together to deliver growth in the sector.

 The review, with input from Scottish & South Energy, Wind Tower Scotland, and Scottish Enterprise, among others, highlighted several areas of deep concern across the entire supply chain:

  •  The need for clearer visibility and volume in the order pipeline and market
  • The difficulties facing new entrants without a track record in offshore wind
  • The challenges posed by the way risk is dealt with through the supply chain
  • The need for industry to move towards a culture which better enables collaboration and the efficiencies which follow, and
  • The need for a clearer support landscape.

 And the report puts forward a series of recommendations focusing primarily on:

  • The need for clarity on the long term market, including a 2030 emissions target for the power sector;
  • Consistent policy from Government;
  • Governments, developers and the supply chain working together to help new market entrants, and
  • Actions on commercial issues – including bonding.

Chinn was invited to lead the review, as his position as Managing Director of Siemens Energy Sector in the UK meant he was well placed to provide insight on the UK market, looking across the sector as a whole.

Chinn said: “This is a long‐term industry involving substantial financial investments and, if the UK supply chain is to have a chance of succeeding in gap areas, the Government has to show its long‐term commitment to supporting the market and do so consistently.”

His report(*) goes to Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy, and Benj Sykes, Head of Asset Management, Dong Energy Wind Power, as co‐chairmen of the Offshore Wind Industry Council.

It contains recommendations for action for both industry and Government, with an expectation that these ideas ‐ which have come from the industry itself ‐ will be driven forward through the Council.

The UK already has the biggest offshore wind market in the world. This is expected to grow to over 10GW by 2020, and to be a growing part of the energy mix in the 2020s as the UK decarbonises its economy and works to deliver the newly-agreed ambitious EU greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030.

Chinn said: “The UK has the greatest natural wind resource of all these countries and brings significant skills from traditional electrical engineering, as well as offshore oil and gas.

“With both this history, and the natural geographical advantage of excellent wind resource, the UK should be well placed to capitalise on this opportunity.

However, the offshore wind industry and its supply chain started in Denmark and Germany, and so far these countries have reaped the greatest industrial benefits, including extensive supply chains for onshore production.

“So the growth of offshore wind and the demanding requirements for the port‐side facilities needed,creates an extensive new opportunity for the UK industry.”

 (*)The UK Offshore Wind Supply Chain: A Review of Opportunities and Barriers

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