Prepared by Hugh Riddell, Regional Partnerships Manager, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.
The UK’s burgeoning offshore renewables sector is set to play a crucial role in tackling global climate change and meeting our Net Zero targets. The UK Government is targeting at least 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, and the Committee on Climate Change estimates we’ll need more than 100GW of offshore wind to achieve net-zero by 2050.
The offshore renewables industry, in particular the offshore wind sector, creates a platform to foster and facilitate cross-sector partnerships and innovation, taking advantage of critical expertise and experience in some of the UK’s leading industries to meet this green energy demand and provide the stimulant for a green economic recovery as we exit the Covid-19 pandemic.
To ensure the UK’s supply chain is ready to take advantage of these economic opportunities, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the UK’s leading innovation centre for offshore renewable energy, in collaboration with HVM Catapult’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), has established the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables (F4OR) business improvement programme. It is a journey of business excellence and sector-specific capability building to support the development of a competent, capable and competitive UK offshore renewable energy supply chain, maximising the economic opportunity, both domestically and globally.
Based on the proven Fit For Nuclear programme, F4OR aims to increase offshore renewables’ competitiveness to support the continued cost reduction in the industry, whilst simultaneously securing long-term economic benefits. F4OR will enhance opportunities for UK supply chain companies to compete for, and secure, contracts at UK offshore wind farms, in order to build and maintain an indigenous UK-based supply chain, making them attractive to offshore renewables’ project developers.
Following the Scottish pilot programme’s success in 2019, ORE Catapult has launched a series of regional programmes throughout the UK, with the latest open to businesses operating in North East Scotland. Jointly funded with Opportunity North East (ONE), the F4OR North East Scotland Programme offers 15 places for innovators and supply chain companies in the region and looks to support the booming local energy supply chain to fuel the growth in offshore renewables and stimulate supply chain mobility and transition during the green economic recovery.
North East Scotland has a strong heritage of offshore operations from its world-leading role in the global oil and gas sector and is well placed to take advantage of the vast opportunity ahead with offshore wind. There are many highly experienced companies in the region with the skills, expertise and ambition to support the energy transition. While existing expertise in technologies such as moorings, anchors, subsea cables and connectors is highly relevant to the offshore wind sector, businesses need to adapt and build on their capabilities and strengths for this particular market.
The region is already home to Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Demonstration Centre, Hywind Scotland and the Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm. But there is also an immediate opportunity unlocked by the Crown Estate’s ScotWind leasing round, adding up to 10GW capacity in the next 10 to 15 years, with investment expected to surpass £8bn. Many sites are within a 100-mile radius of Aberdeen, and the combination of Aberdeen Harbour South and the Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) will provide a game-changing proposition to the offshore wind industry.
Developed with input from the offshore renewables industry, the F4OR programme is aimed at businesses who are intent on transitioning to the offshore renewable energy sector and access the huge market potential both domestically and globally. The programme will focus on business improvement in two key areas to prepare the company to bid for work in the sector:
- Business Excellence: assessing areas of the business, including strategy and leadership, health, safety and environmental management, quality management, design and project delivery, and process and operations;
- Sector Specific Competence: assessing sector knowledge, capacity and capability, cost reduction and competitiveness, and technical and commercial risk management.
A number of North East companies, including Balmoral Renewables, 2H Offshore, Leask Marine and Apollo Engineering achieved Fit 4 Offshore Renewables Granted Status during the Scottish pilot programme. Gary Yeoman, Sales Director at Balmoral, said: “Participation in the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables programme, for us, meant being part of a critical mass of technologically innovative UK supply chain companies bringing their expertise to the national and international markets. The programme endorsed our existing processes across all of our business models with a strong focus on clear communications across all levels of management. The recurring theme of continuous improvement and innovation fits well with what lies at the core of Balmoral and the opportunity to raise our profile significantly with the UK’s key developers has been invaluable.”
Applications to participate in the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables North East Scotland programme open on Monday 18th January. Visit https://ore.catapult.org.uk/f4or for more information.