Two OWFs Bring Big Supply Chain Opportunities to East of England

Two international wind farm developers have committed themselves to massive developments off the Norfolk coast in a major confidence boost to the East of England wind power sector.

Two OWFs Bring Big Supply Chain Opportunities to East of England

Delegates at an offshore wind seminar in Lowestoft, held on April 3, were told that both had the potential to offer big opportunities for the energy supply chain in the region.

DONG Energy was progressing plans for the Race Bank wind farm 17 miles north of Blakeney while Statoil, and partners Statkraft, were pressing ahead with the Dudgeon wind farm off Cromer, which will have its operations and maintenance (O&M) base at Great Yarmouth.

Concerns about the future for the Galloper project off Suffolk were eased with a pledge that it was ‘business as usual’ with RWE Innogy confident of finding a new partner following SSE’s decision to pull-out.

More than 150 energy specialists attended the event hosted by OrbisEnergy on behalf of Renewable UK and GROW:Offshore Wind, and supported by EEEGR.

Johnathan Reynolds, business development lead at OrbisEnergy, said that nearly three-quarters of the UK’s windpower capacity would soon be off the coast of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex.

“Right now we have more offshore wind generation off the region’s coast than anywhere in the world, and with it some significant opportunities for local businesses. That’s only going to increase with the developments of Dudgeon, Race Bank and Galloper.”

Roger Winmill, DONG’s head of UK supplier markets, said they planned to construct the £2bn Race Bank project in 2015-17 and were under intense pressure to have a strong local involvement.

“We are absolutely committed to offshore windpower … and this is a massive investment off your coast and will create huge opportunities,” he said. But he warned that it was up to the supply chain to be ready for the challenge and able to meet the developers’ needs.

Bjørn Ivar Bergemo, Statoil asset manager, said they expected to make a final investment decision on the £1.5bn project in July and begin installing foundations in 2016. They would soon be assessing local supply chain capabilities and wanted to encourage UK content. “We are confident of the project’s success,” he added. They expected to announce shortly the Great Yarmouth site for their O&M and would eventually need 50-70 employees.

Graham Moates, package manager for Galloper Wind Farm, said: “RWE remain committed to the project and we are pressing on with procurement and negotiations. It’s business as usual.”

Press release, April 4, 2014; Image: TMS Media