Photo: RWE/Siemens Gamesa

RWE makes it easier for Sofia OWF future supply chain

RWE has launched an online suppliers portal where companies can search for and find opportunities on the Sofia offshore wind project.

The suppliers portal will display contract opportunities with the Sofia project and its key contractors as they become available.

“We are keen to maximise the involvement of UK companies as the project progresses, particularly with onshore construction due to start in Teesside in the first quarter of 2021”, said Mike Nolan, Sofia Offshore Wind Farm’s Head of Procurement.

The portal also comprises an online open search directory, where suppliers can add their profiles.

“Our key aim for the online directory is to provide a platform for suppliers to create their own presence, tailored to their offshore wind ambitions, and for others throughout the offshore wind supply chain to use it to search for the goods and services they need”, Mike Nolan said.

With the directory, as well as the wider suppliers portal, RWE is aiming to boost UK supply chain opportunities, particularly in the North East, according to the developer.

“We encourage all suppliers with an interest in working with the project to register their details online, and we will work closely with our Tier 1 suppliers to make sure they also fully engage with the features of the portal”, Nolan said.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, who has signed a preferred supplier agreement for the project’s wind turbines, has an active potential and confirmed UK supplier base in a number of commodity areas and there will be opportunities for these firms, and others, to tender for a range of services particularly related to port and vessel activity, according to RWE.

Furthermore, there will be opportunities for UK suppliers in the high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system package, which will be delivered by GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine. A significant element of all the primary equipment will be manufactured and fabricated from GE’s Grid Solutions’ Stafford facilities, the developer states.

“As more suppliers come on board we will encourage their active participation in the portal to ensure it adds maximum value to the project, to our suppliers, and to potential suppliers across the supply chain”, Mike Nolan said.

The final investment decision for the 1.4 GW offshore wind farm is due to be reached in the first quarter of 2021, and the project will enter onshore construction immediately after that.

Offshore construction at the project site some 195 kilometres off the UK’s North East coast is expected to start in 2023.

The Sofia offshore wind farm will comprise 100 Siemens Gamesa 14 MW turbines, and will therefore become the first European project to install the model that will be market-ready by 2024.

The offshore wind farm is anticipated to be fully commissioned in 2026.

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