Opportunities for the UK supply chain to support the energy transition through the offshore wind sector were highlighted at a major national conference held in North East England.
Announced at Offshore Wind North East, which took place in Sunderland on 1st and 2nd December, Moray West wind farm has awarded Iemants, using Newcastle-based Smulders UK, a supply chain-significant contract for two offshore substation platforms. The contract is subject to the award of a Contract for Difference in 2022 and Financial Close.
The assembly and fit out of the platforms, using Siemens Energy’s Offshore Transformer Module technology, will take place at Smulders’ yard in Wallsend, Newcastle in 2022. The yard on the banks of the River Tyne previously fabricated 55 jacket foundations for the Moray East project and also contributed to the production of topsides and jackets for the oil & gas industry in previous decades.
The Moray West announcement also includes a supporting contract through Siemens Energy for North East England cluster company Barrier Architectural Services, based on Teesside, which will subcontract elements of the work to MTE, based in Darlington.
Organised by UK energy sector business development experts NOF and supported by North East England’s offshore wind cluster Energi Coast, the conference and exhibition was opened with an address by Gregg Hands, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth.
Speaking via video message, Mr Hands recognised North East England as the ‘nexus of the wind industry’ that is not only contributing to a low carbon future, but also helping level up the economy by attracting investment and creating high value jobs.
These themes were highly evident throughout Offshore Wind North East, which welcomed around 750 delegates and was sponsored by strategic event partners Dogger Bank Wind Farm, GE Renewable Energy, Sofia Offshore Wind Farm and MPI Offshore/Van Oord.
Representatives from these partners, as well as organisations such as BP, took part in presentations, panel discussions and hosted networking sessions with delegates to provide insights into project developments, supply chain requirements and to engage directly with potential suppliers.
Key areas of focus at the conference, which was also supported by regional investment partners, Invest North East and Invest Tees Valley, were supply chain updates on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm and Sofia Offshore Wind Farm.
In addition, a briefing from GE Renewable Energy updated delegates on its activities in the region that includes the plans for its major turbine blade manufacturing facility, which will be built on Teesside on the site of the Freeport.
Alongside the discussions and presentations, Offshore Wind North East hosted a large exhibition area featuring in excess of 130 companies active in the sector.
In addition to showcasing their innovative products and services, the exhibition gave companies the chance to establish and develop collaborative relationships to strengthen their position in the supply chain.
Joanne Leng MBE, Chief Executive Designate of NOF, said: “North East England is not only at the forefront of offshore wind, but also the broader energy transition agenda, building on an immense industrial legacy, which was incredibly clear at Offshore Wind North East.
“The developers and contractors in attendance are keen to utilise the skills and innovation of North East England’s supply chain and support the significant investments they are making, which will support the drive towards net zero and the role wind will play alongside other areas of the energy mix such as hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and nuclear.
“The award of the Moray West contract to Smulders is a clear example of both the capabilities that exist in North East England that can contribute to the level of local content in the wind industry as well as demonstrating that its facility in Wallsend, world-renowned for supporting oil & gas projects, continues to transition into the renewables industries. The fact that part of the project has also gone to Barrier Arcitectual Services and MTE proves the benefits these contracts can bring to the wider supply chain.”
Sofia Project Director, RWE’s Matthew Swanwick said: “Offshore Wind North East is a key fixture in the offshore wind sector calendar and this year’s event was even more eagerly anticipated than usual after 18 months of restrictions and few chances to meet face-to-face.
North East England’s supply chain cluster goes from strength to strength, and these two days not only showcased the capabilities and engineering excellence in the region, they were also a platform for innovation, a chance to find out about future plans and a catalyst for conversations that could lead to mutually beneficial opportunities. I feel proud that RWE has already had a long standing involvement with local industries for over 14 years.”
Roy van Loveren – Offshore Wind UK Area Manager – UK and Ireland, MPI Offshore/Van Oord, said: “MPI Offshore and Van Oord Offshore Wind were really pleased to meet our customers and suppliers at Offshore Wind North East and it was an ideal opportunity to discuss our EPCI projects in the UK such as Sofia and our O&M activities such as heavy maintenance on wind farms throughout Europe.”