North East England’s export legacy continues with US offshore wind industry
With its reputation for innovation and the delivery of effective solutions, North East England’s offshore wind industry has successfully exported its expertise into both established and emerging markets, including the United States
Emulating the region’s success in the oil & gas industry, where the skills, products and services that were successfully developed for the harsh environments of the North Sea were exported to a multitude of international markets, North East England’s offshore wind cluster is continuing to prove its ingenuity and continues to be in demand around the world.
Joanne Leng MBE, Deputy Chair of Energi Coast exlplained: “Although still in its relative infancy, the United States’ offshore wind industry, particularly on the East Coast, has tremendous potential.
“States along the East Coast have bold targets to build more than 10GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, but currently has limited commercial expertise in the sector so is looking to draw on experience from other markets, which is already creating opportunities for suppliers within our cluster.”
Energi Coast represents North East England’s supply chain companies involved in offshore wind. Formed in 2011 as a steering group it was reconstituted in 2019 embracing wider stakeholder involvement and with an ambitious programme of activities.
These activities are aimed at helping the regional supply chain further grow and develop, to promote the benefits of investing in North East England, facilitating regional and UK content for the Dogger Bank Wind Farms and Sofia projects off the North East coast and taking supply chain expertise to global markets, all activities supporting the themes of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal.
Offshore wind clusters
Energi Coast is now one of the UK’s eight offshore wind clusters under the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which was signed in 2019 to help realise the sector ambitions and this included the launch of the OWGP (Offshore Wind Growth Partnership).
The clusters’ supply chain has evolved through the development of innovative and game changing products and services, which have been applied to the lion’s share of the world’s offshore windfarm developments. As a result, the Energi Coast cluster has matured to deliver the majority of what is required for an offshore windfarm, both at design, construction, installation and operations & maintenance phase. This expertise ranges from foundations, cables, installation, ports and logistics, training and specialist subsea services.
Joanne added: “The accumulated expertise that exists in North East England is enabling the Energi Coast cluster and the region’s wider supply chain to not only export products and services, but also help influence the development of emerging markets.
“The United States is a global leader in terms of manufacturing and engineering, but it recognises the importance of facilitating knowledge transfer from the UK and Europe to ensure it can create a sustainable pipeline of offshore windfarm developments and their subsequent operations & maintenance programmes.”
This knowledge transfer is evident in the establishment of a new partnership between the UK’s largest wind energy trainer, AIS Training and Maryland-based welding specialist ARCON. The two organisations are working together to establish a state-of-the-art offshore wind training centre in Maryland to train offshore wind workers to Global Wind Organisation (GWO) Standards.
Geoff Croft, Business Development Manager at AIS Training elaborated: “We are very excited to be partnering with ARCON. The offshore wind industry in the United States is growing rapidly with several large offshore windfarm projects currently being planned.
The US East Coast is earmarked as a key location for many of these projects such as the Skipjack windfarm off Maryland, which is planned to host the world’s largest turbines, GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X 12-megawatt wind turbines. Maryland was therefore a natural choice to fully support our first US renewable energy training village.”
Development of the US workforce
The development of the US workforce is also being supported by a member of the wider North East England offshore wind supply chain, Buildstream. Providing an on-demand labour marketplace for the sector, the company is establishing a presence in the United States to enable the creation of a sustainable skilled workforce for the offshore wind industry.
Joanne concluded: “Companies from within Energi Coast and the region’s wider supply chain are already proving to be a valuable resource for the emerging US offshore wind industry as the depth and breadth of the cluster’s capabilities and experiences continue to be applied to developments along the east coast of America.”
Energi Coast will be visiting the US throughout 2020 to introduce UK companies to opportunities in market.
NOF & Energi Coast