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Government urged to do more for UK windfarm supply chain

wind turbine

The offshore wind sector is urging the government to do more to help UK suppliers win more work to build, maintain and decommission offshore windfarms.

A report from the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) has urged the government to ensure that 60% of project costs for all offshore wind projects are sourced from UK-based companies. The report was written by former McLaren Formula One racing team chief executive Martin Whitmarsh. He was asked to author the report because of his experience in improving supply chain productivity in the automotive industry.

At present only 50% of windfarm project costs are spent with UK companies. The report UK Offshore Wind Industry: Supply Chain Review concludes that this is too low to enable the nation’s offshore wind farm supply chain to develop.   

“Government should assess developer supply chain plans, expecting developers to achieve 60% of life cycle cost to be UK-sourced by 2030 and to demonstrate that 10% of the cost should incorporate intellectual property developed and owned by UK companies,” the report states.   

The sector’s current target is for 50% of project costs to be spent in the UK, but this does not include intellectual property or the full life-cycle costs of a project, which would include maintenance and decommissioning. 

Ther report argues that by sourcing greater amounts of work from UK companies, the nation will be able to build a supply chain capable of taking advantage of an emerging global market and export skills, services and products.  

Whitmarsh also called on the DIT to “better communicate” its role in helping UK companies win work overseas.  

“The DIT should be adequately resourced to be more active in highlighting and supporting the UK export opportunity and associated barriers. Their role in supporting SMEs to find routes to market for exporting needs to be better communicated.”  

OWIC chair Benj Sykes said the UK had a unique opportunity to “win orders in the rapidly expanding global offshore wind market.” 

“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,” he said. “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.” 

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