Moves to bring the supply chain on board for the massive Round Three offshore wind power programme kick off this week with a seven week series of events around the UK.
Crown Estates supply chain manager Adrian Fox began the tour today in Aberdeen.
The supply chain events are billed as “getting down to the detail” of the Round Three offshore programme and should be an opportunity for firms across the supply chain to understand the opportunities and risks.
Fox said the task involved retraining those used to working in the oil and gas industry.
“We have the offshore engineering capability – it’s a question of retraining. I don’t think that there is any activity required to build operate and maintain an offshore wind farm that we don’t already have within the UK.”
Fox said that he was looking for the UK civil engineering profession to introduce a step change in design by introducing innovations to reduce maintenance and introduce safety systems for construction, maintenance and operation.
“We have the offshore engineering capability – it’s a question of retraining”
Adrian Fox, Crown Estates
“What we are talking about is turbines that are immense. These are not the things you see on the tops of buildings. These are cutting edge technology,” he said.
He said testing the technology will important be for financing.
“Banks want absolute certainty about operating hours – they want robust reliable machines and therefore one of the challenges for the supply chain is making sure that there are sufficient numbers of reliable machines that have been tested. The supply chain is suddenly realising that this is a serious business.”
Meanwhile Ofgem has announced that eight bidders will compete to build three more high-voltage transmission links to offshore wind farms.
The bidders will compete for the links to the Gwynt y Môr, Lincs and London Array (phase 1) offshore windfarms. These are three of the UK’s largest offshore windfarms, representing over 1.4GW of renewable power.
Bidders for the 20 year own and operate concessions will be shortlisted in spring 2011, and winners will be chosen this summer.