As Recharge reported from the RenewableUK Offshore 2013 conference in Manchester, England this week, fears were expressed repeatedly– publicly and privately, by industry and government alike, that despite a yawning global lead in installed capacity, the UK may squander its opportunity to create an industrial offshore wind industry.
The fears are mirroring those of the German, Dutch, French and Danish offshore wind industries – highlighting the strong pressure from governments to keep value added inside the countries. By example, France has placed significant emphasis on the “socioeconomic” impact of projects when allocating them. In Manchester, energy minister Michael Fallon said: “Our consumers support offshore wind through their bills. They rightly expect there should be economic benefit in terms of UK jobs and value – and I support and share that expectation.”
Building an Industry, a commissioned by the Crown Estate and RenewableUK, underscores the “sliding scale” of future opportunity available to local UK suppliers.
In this environment, Norwegian suppliers will meet hard local competition. Serving the European offshore wind markets with cost reducing innovations drawn from the long term offshore expertise might be the only way forward and, combined with local partnerships, it should be a winning formula.