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Archant Local Impact

Offshore work potential is ‘huge’

PUBLISHED: 05:00 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:07 13 February 2018

Scroby Sand offshore windfarm in the North Sea off the Norfolk Coast near Great Yarmouth.
Wind Turbine
Picture: James Bass

Copy: Stephen Pullinger
For:  EDP NEWS
EDP Pics © 2006    Tel: (01603) 772434

Scroby Sand offshore windfarm in the North Sea off the Norfolk Coast near Great Yarmouth. Wind Turbine Picture: James Bass Copy: Stephen Pullinger For: EDP NEWS EDP Pics © 2006 Tel: (01603) 772434

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2006

Companies in the offshore energy supply chain should be “hugely optimistic” about their future, an industry leader will tell the region’s biggest energy conference.

Martin Dronfield, the new chair of EEEGR's Offshore Wind Supply Chain Special Interest Group. Picture: TMS Media.Martin Dronfield, the new chair of EEEGR's Offshore Wind Supply Chain Special Interest Group. Picture: TMS Media.

A steady stream of contracts is set to flow into the fast-growing supply chain over next two years, spreading the benefits of multi-billion pound offshore investments through East Anglia’s coastal clusters, says Martin Dronfield.

The new chairman of a special interest group covering the offshore wind supply chain, he will be speaking at the two-day Southern North Sea conference organised by the East of England Energy Group on February 28 and March 1.

“Potential opportunities are huge for the supply chain in the region,” said Mr Dronfield, a director at James Fisher.

He encouraged businesses to supply their expertise and innovation outside the region to the development of Dogger Bank and Hornsea projects off the north east coast.

And the development of an offshore wind supply chain code of practice should be made a priority to set rules of engagement with operators and suppliers, he added.

ScottishPower Renewables’ East Anglia projects and Vattenfall’s Vanguard and Boreas wind farms would offer opportunities over the next two years, he said, while further work would come from upgrading existing farms.

“Many opportunities are 12-18 months away, and we need to keep in mind that remaining competitive is, and will continue to be, a huge driver as the whole industry focuses on how it will meet the auction prices in the Contracts for Difference regime.

“There is concern among the supply chain about how this will impact on us and we need to understand and focus our energy on how we deal with it and how we protect the supply chain from being at the bottom end of a rolling drive to simply cut costs, perhaps through an industry-wide agreement to a supply chain code of practice.”

Mr Dronfield will speak on the second day of the conference at the Norfolk Showground in a session called Innovation: Offshore Wind, Establishing the New Normal.

The session will also discuss the next generation of floating turbines and power storage, while other topics at SNS include oil & gas, decommissioning, nuclear and skills.

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