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Independent Offshore Wind Supply Chain Review highlights opportunities for UK companies

01 February 2019  
Posted by: Rob Norris
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Offshore Wind Industry Council media release – Friday 1st February 2019


Independent Offshore Wind Supply Chain Review highlights opportunities for UK companies


A new report commissioned by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) showcases the wide variety of opportunities available to UK companies of all sizes to get involved in the offshore wind supply chain, providing products and services to projects here and abroad.


“The UK Offshore Wind Industry: Supply Chain Review”, by the former McLaren Group CEO and Formula One Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, provides an independent perspective on the sector, and makes a number of key recommendations for industry and Government. 


In order to compile the independent review, Mr Whitmarsh worked over the course of a year with Clark MacFarlane, Managing Director of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy UK, and was assisted by industry experts from innogy, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and ScottishPower Renewables. The team also organised a series of road show events to engage with a wide range of both existing and potential supply chain companies around the UK.  


The review states: “We should now encourage businesses to embrace the opportunities in offshore wind, establish know-how and global competitiveness to create enduring employment and export revenues as the worldwide market opportunity accelerates.


“In view of the very ambitious scale and cost targets now being set for the offshore wind sector, UK business needs to step up and provide a competitive offering and complement the existing supply chain. Furthermore, UK companies need to be encouraged to offer innovative and cost-effective services and technology to the sector. If this can be achieved, UK businesses and the overall economy can greatly benefit from the substantial offshore wind export opportunities that are now opening throughout the world”.


The review recommends that Government should announce clear targets for offshore wind and commit to an extended pipeline of bi-annual CfD auctions of more than 2GW of capacity a year. It suggests that offshore wind developers should publish clear lifecycle plans to show supply chain companies what they need, and when they will need it.


The report also recognises the urgent threat posed by climate change and urges Government to set more ambitious targets to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, whilst encouraging more consumers to buy electricity generated from low carbon sources. It also suggests that households should be encouraged to store, use or sell electricity they generate from electric vehicles and domestic batteries as part of a modern, flexible energy system.   


The OWIC is working with Government on a Sector Deal which aims to deliver at least a third of the country’s electricity from offshore wind by 2030, attracting a further £48 billion investment in UK infrastructure. By this time the offshore wind industry will employ 27,000 people. The domestic and export market for offshore wind products and services provided by UK-based firms is expected to be worth nearly £5bn a year by 2030. 


Welcoming the report, the Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, Benj Sykes, said: “We commissioned this independent review as we wanted a fresh look from an experienced industry leader not familiar with offshore wind. Martin Whitmarsh has a great track record in Formula One and in the automotive sector.


“The review highlights the extraordinary scale of the many multi-million pound opportunities for UK companies to become part of our fast-growing supply chain. Industry and Government are finalising a Sector Deal which will set out how offshore wind can become the backbone of our energy system. This review makes clear that an ambitious, long-term strategy is vital to bring forward new investment in our supply chains and secure export growth.   


“The UK’s global lead in offshore wind means we are uniquely placed to export not only our products but also our expertise to other countries, and it’s great to see the review highlighting the opportunity for the UK to develop innovative technologies needed for the next generation of offshore wind and winning orders in the rapidly expanding global offshore wind market. As an industry we have ambitious plans so we want to ensure UK companies benefit at all levels of the value chain”.   


“We fully expect to have the Sector Deal agreed with Government in the coming weeks, and look forward to responding to Martin’s recommendations later in the year as implementation of the Deal gets underway.”


“I would like to thank Martin and Clark for their work around the UK which has enabled them to draw these recommendations together’’.



Media contacts:

  1. The Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), a senior Government and industry forum, was established in May 2013 to drive the development of the world-leading offshore wind sector in the UK. More details on OWIC are available here. OWIC has engaged with over 200 companies as part of the Sector Deal process. The UK is developing unique skills and technology, with companies scaling up operations and investing in offshore wind clusters in areas such as the Humber Estuary.


  2. “The UK Offshore Wind Industry: Supply Chain Review” is available here

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